Equestrian at the 2008 Summer Olympics
|Equestrian at the
2008 Summer Olympics
||This article may contain original research. (July 2012)|
Equestrian competitions at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics were held from August 9 to August 21 at the Hong Kong Sports Institute and Sheung Yue River in Hong Kong. It was the second time the equestrian events were hosted by a member of the IOC other than the member hosting the main games. Unlike 1956, however, the equestrian events were part of the main games, and were held within the same period.
6 sets of medals were awarded in the following events:
Each event has its own qualification rules, but generally rely on FEI rankings.
Dressage qualification 
For the team competition there were a total of 10 quota spots and as many composite as qualify. Three team spots were awarded at the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games. In addition 7 team spots were awarded at regional competitions (Europe: 3, Americas: 2, Asia: 2). In addition, should a country have three athletes qualified in the individual competition, they will be considered a team and allowed to compete as a composite team. Five teams qualified under this scheme.
For the individual competition, 50 spots were allocated as follows. Thirty spots were awarded to the athletes who qualified as teams above. In addition, the highest ranked rider from each of seven geographic regions and the host nation qualify. Then the top twelve riders based on rank FEI rank who had not otherwise qualified are given spots.
Jumping qualification 
A country may send up to five riders if it qualified for the team competition, two otherwise. Similar to Dressage, teams of five riders were qualified at either the World Equestrian Games, a region competition, or through a composite spot. The WEG awarded five spots, the regions eight (Americas: 2, Europe: 2, Asia: 4), and two composite teams qualified. For the individual competition there were a total of 73 spot allocated as follows: 45 team member, 1 host nation, 7 regional, and 22 at-large.
Eventing qualification 
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Competition schedule 
|Saturday, August 9, 2008||06:30||10:30||Eventing Team||Dressage (Day 1)|
|Eventing Individual||Dressage (Day 1)|
|19:15||23:15||Eventing Team||Dressage (Day 1)|
|Eventing Individual||Dressage (Day 1)|
|Sunday, August 10, 2008||06:30||10:30||Eventing Team||Dressage (Day 2)|
|Eventing Individual||Dressage (Day 2)|
|Monday, August 11, 2008||08:00||11:30||Eventing Team||Cross Country (held at Beas River)|
|Eventing Individual||Cross Country (held at Beas River)|
|Tuesday, August 12, 2008||19:15||22:15||Eventing Team||Jumping (Final)|
|Eventing Individual||Jumping (Qualifier)|
|22:30||23:30||Eventing Individual||Jumping (Final)|
|Wednesday, August 13, 2008||19:15||24:15||Dressage Team||Grand Prix (Day 1)|
|Dressage Individual||Grand Prix 1st Qualifier (Day 1)|
|Thursday, August 14, 2008||19:15||23:45||Dressage Individual||Grand Prix 1st Qualifier (Day 2)|
|Dressage Team||Grand Prix (Day 2)|
|Friday, August 15, 2008||19:15||23:15||Jumping Individual||1st Qualifier|
|Saturday, August 16, 2008||19:15||24:00||Dressage Individual||Grand Prix Special 2nd Qualifier|
|Sunday, August 17, 2008||19:15||23:15||Jumping Team||Final Round 1|
|Jumping Individual||2nd Qualifier|
|Monday, August 18, 2008||19:15||22:15||Jumping Team||Final Round 2|
|Jumping Individual||3rd Qualifier|
|Tuesday, August 19, 2008||19:15||22:15||Dressage Individual||Grand Prix Freestyle|
|Thursday, August 21, 2008||19:15||21:45||Jumping Individual||Final Round A|
|22:00||23:00||Jumping Individual||Final Round B|
Medal summary 
Medal table 
|2||United States (USA)||1||1||1||3|
|7||Great Britain (GBR)||0||0||2||2|
The equestrian competitions were held in Hong Kong apart from the main games, which is a separate member to the IOC. This was because Hong Kong has established a huge horse racing industry since its British colonial days; therefore, strict quarantine measures for horses has been well established in the region, and were likely to result in fewer problems with equine disease than other cities in mainland China. Additionally, there were already some stabling sites for horses within Hong Kong, hence less construction was needed to facilitate the equestrian sports required by the Olympics.
There were be 2 main equestrian venues: Hong Kong Sports Institute (adjacent to Sha Tin Racecourse) and the Beas River Country Club. The Sports Institute held the main competition arena, which included 80 x 100 meter stadium will all-weather footing and seating for 18,000. The Beas River Country Club was the site of the cross-country phase of eventing, which was held on the golf course.
Hong Kong is known to have hot and humid weather with typhoons being common. This includes a mean air temperature of 28.4 °C (83.1 °F) with 82% humidity, making it even more inclement than Athens (mean temperature of 27.6°C (81.6 °F), humidity 48%) and Atlanta (26 °C (78 °F), 75% humidity).
Some competitors made it clear that they believed that it would be unfair to work their horses in such weather. Swiss dressage rider Sylvia Ikle was one such rider, and the Swiss decided not to send a dressage team because they would have had little chance of success without her.
To combat the heat, the horses will be transported from the airport in Hong Kong to the stabling facilities in air-conditioned vans. The stables are all air-conditioned as well, at a temperature of 20 °C (68 °F). For the first time in history, there will also be an indoor arena for training that will also be air-conditioned. Misting fans will be placed under tents at both venues to cool off horses that have worked outside. There will also be vast quantities of ice water available. There is also a veterinary clinic on site, which can test the horses' urine several times to ensure they are all properly hydrated.
The cross-country course was also designed with a shorter, alternate route to be used if the heat and humidity warrant it. The show jumping will be held under lights at night to avoid the heat. The footing is made of high tensile fibers and quartz sand, which has a great ability to absorb water, so that any rain should have minimal effect on the footing used for dressage and show jumping competitions.
The show jumping courses (both Grand Prix and the eventing stadium phase) were designed by Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela and Steve Stephens of the USA. Michael Etherington-Smith of Great Britain designed the cross-country course.
More than 200 horses from 41 nations competed.
- Dressage: 13 teams of 3 riders each, and 10 individuals.
- Eventing: 5 riders per team, with only 3 scores counting.
- Weather in Hong Kong: August, Hong Kong Fast Facts, accessed December 5, 2008
- Silvia Ikle Not to Compete at the 2008 Olympic Games, January 9, 2008, Eurodressage, accessed December 5, 2008
- Swiss Dressage Team Withdraws from Competing at the 2008 Olympics, January 8, 2008, Eurodressage, accessed December 5, 2008
- Beijing 2008
- Beijing 2008 Equestrian
- Federation Equestre Internationale
- FEI Official Competition Timetable
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