In Depth

Olympics 2016: What time are the equestrian events in Rio?

A guide to the dressage, eventing and jumping competitions, plus who to watch from Team GB and when

Equestrian events were not present at the first modern Olympics in 1896 but did feature in 1900 – and every Olympics since.

This year, there are six gold medals up for grabs across three disciplines: dressage, show jumping and eventing. Polo and vaulting have not been part of the Games since the early 20th century.

The equestrian events are the only Olympic sport to feature animals and are also unusual as men and women compete against each other in the same competitions.

Team GB have experienced mixed fortunes on horseback. Between 1976 and 2008, the team won only one gold, but then scooped three golds, a silver and a bronze in London.

Rio's newly expanded Olympic Equestrian Centre was built for the 2007 Pan American Games and will host the jumping and dressage arena, as well as the cross-country course and horse and trainer accommodation.

Here's how the events work:
Dressage:

Dating back to ancient Greece, the aim of dressage is to show off the athletic ability and obedience of the horse as it performs a series of set moves. There are mandatory moves that horses and riders must go through, as well as a freestyle section set to music. Competitors are judged by a panel of seven judges, who award marks out of ten. The top team and top rider are awarded the medals.

Eventing:

The most demanding of the three disciplines combines jumping, dressage and cross-country. Teams consist of three or four riders competing on the same horse throughout. The first two days of competition are taken up with dressage, then comes the cross-country and the final day sees the riders jump. The lowest score wins as the result is down to penalties.

Jumping:

Possibly the most familiar equestrian event, the aim is to finish the course without knocking down any of the fences. The winner is the rider with fewest penalties, which are accrued for hitting fences, refusing to jump or falling - which means elimination. There is also a time limit, with more penalties for going past it.

Who is competing for Team GB?

There will be 12 competitors representing Team GB at Rio 2016. The best-known rider is Charlotte Dujardin, who won double gold in the dressage at London 2012 and will be defending her crown on Valegro once more. She is also the reigning world and European champion.

She is joined by fellow 2012 Olympic gold medallist Carl Hester with Nip Tuck and 2015 European team silver medallist Fiona Bigwood on Atterupgaards Orthilia.

The four-strong eventing team is led by 47-year-old William Fox-Pitt, a three-time Olympic medallist who travels to Rio just nine months after he was put in an induced coma following a serious fall.

The jumping team also has plenty of experience with 60-year-old John Whitaker, who was a silver medallist at the Los Angeles Games in 1984. His younger brother, Michael, also won silver in LA and joins 58-year-old Nick Skelton in what must be one of the oldest Olympic teams at the Games, although the presence of 33-year-old Ben Maher brings the average age down.

When are the finals?

The eventing medals will be the first to be decided. Competition begins at 2pm UK time on Saturday with the final event, jumping, beginning at 2pm on Tuesday, 9 August.

The dressage begins on Wednesday and the team final is at 2pm on Friday 12 August, with the individual medals decided at the same time the following Monday.

The final discipline is the jumping, with the team final at 2pm on Wednesday 17 August, while the individual event concludes from 5.30pm on Friday 19 August.

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