London 2012: Equestrian
The equestrian competitions for the 2012 Summer Games are set to take place at Greenwich Park in London from July 28 until August 7. Medals will be awarded in six events: show jumping, dressage and three-day event (team and individual).
What’s up with the scoring?
Individual show jumping consists of three initial rounds which leads to the final two rounds. The first of the final two rounds determines the twenty riders who will compete in the last round. The rider and horse combination with the least number of penalty points over the two rounds is the winner. In the case of a tie, there is an extra round in which the fastest competitor wins.
Team show jumping features three or four riders per team. The best three riders from each team are considered in the point tallying to determine the winner. There is an extra round in case of a tie in which the fastest team wins.
Individual dressage includes the top 25 competitors from the team event who take part in the Grand Prix Special. The top 15 riders then advance to the final round in which they compete in a free program set to music.
Team dressage is comprised of three riders from each team competing in a mandatory program. Judges mark their technical elements out of ten. The team with the highest point total is declared the winner.
Individual three-day event features three disciplines over three days: dressage, cross-country and show jumping. Each rider uses the same horse over the course of the three days. The duo with the least number of penalty points is the winner.
Team three-day event takes the amount of penalty points earned by the individual riders and applies them to each team. The winning team to determined by the least amount of penalty points.
International competitors to watch:
Equestrian will have a bit of a royal flavor as Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter, Zara Phillips, has been nominated to participate as part of the United Kingdom’s team for this year’s Olympics. Phillips is 14th in the line to the throne but she was adamant in proving herself in the equestrian world simply based on merit and not because of her royal heritage.
American athletes to watch:
American politics will also be involved in the equestrian competition. Team USA member Jan Ebeling rides a horse named Rafalca who is owned by Ann Romney, the wife of presidential hopeful and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. The most successful United States dressage rider, Steffen Peters, will return to the Olympics coming off of big national wins.
Talk like an Olympian – terms to know:
Piaffe – a term used in dressage for when a horse performs a trotting movement on the spot.
Optimum time – a term used in cross-country eventing. Optimum time is the target finish time, and for each second after the optimum time that a competitor still has not finished, the competitor is penalized with 0.4 faults.
Triple combination – Three fences placed very close to each other with only a few steps in between.