Equestrian at the 1932 Summer Olympics
The Equestrian Events at the 1932 Los Angeles Summer Games included Dressage (team and individual medals), Eventing (team and individual medals), and Show Jumping (individual medals while team medals were not awarded). The competitions were held from August 10, 1932 to August 14, 1932. Due to the Great Depression, and the fact that the Games were held in Los Angeles (which was considerably difficult for the European nations to travel to), only 35 entries from 6 nations competed--which was to be the lowest participation of any Olympic Games. Notable absentees included the Germans (who normally were very strong players in the equestrian events) as well as 1928 Olympic Games medal winners Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Poland and Czechoslovakia. To save money, most countries sent only those riders that were most likely to medal (France sent a dressage team, the Netherlands sent only eventers), or in the case of Sweden, had riders in all discipline but required the eventers to also competed in the show jumping. Only the United States and Mexico had full representation. Japan also sent an eventer and a jumper rider.
The Mexicans had the easiest journey, traveling by rail to the Olympic site. Japanese horses came via ship from Yokohama to Los Angeles. The Dutch also travelled by ship straight to Los Angeles via the Panama Canal, while both France and Sweden went by ship to New York and then had to travel by railroad to the opposite coast. The Dutch, whose horses had the longest journey across the ocean, built a treadmill to keep their horses fit while heading to the Games.
The jumping competition had 11 riders from 4 nations. While individual medals were awarded, none of the teams managed to have three riders finish the course so team medals were not awarded. Although the course at the 1928 Games was too easy, course designer John Barry went the opposite direction for the 1932 Games and made the course much too hard, especially considering the weak field present at that Games. The 18-obstacle, 20-effort course was 1,060 meters in length, and included two fences at 1.60 meters, a very difficult wall, and a water that was 5 meters in width. 100,000 spectators were present at the show jumping competition.
The dressage had 10 riders from 4 nations, and was held on the Riviera Country Club's polo field. 25,000 spectators watched the 16-minute tests, which now for the first time included piaffe and passage. A controversy arose after Swedish rider Bertil Sandström was accused by an unofficial side-judge from the USA of clucking to his horse, which was not allowed under FEI rules. Sandström claimed it was simply his new saddle squeaking. After being reviewed by the Appeals Committee consisting of FEI President Guy Henry, FEI Vice President Clarence von Rosen of Sweden, and FEI Secretary General Georges Hector of France, the decision was made to place Sandström, who was in silver position, last individually but to allow his score to count for his team. This resulted in a French rider moving into individual silver position and an American moving into bronze.
14 riders competed with only 3 teams starting: the United States, The Netherlands, and Sweden. Sweden's Arne Francke was eliminated cross-country, so only team gold (United States) and silver (The Netherlands) were awarded. Pahud de Mortanges won his second consecutive individual gold medal, while individual silver went to Earl Foster Thomson on Jenny Camp who was to repeat that performance at the 1936 Olympic Games. The bronze winner in the eventing competition, Clarence von Rosen junior, also won bronze in the Jumping competition.
Each country was allowed to enter three riders in every event. A total number of 35 riders were originally entered.
A total of 31 horse riders from 6 nations competed at the Los Angeles Games:
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