The world is abuzz with Olympic talk right now, and if you’re anything like me, you’re keeping up with all of the trials! I really enjoy watching the swimming, gymnastics, track and field, and of course the equestrian events! I thought it might be nice to do a brief history of the equestrian events at the Olympics.
The year 1900 was the first time the Olympics saw any equestrian events, and then they disappeared again until 1912. Since then, they have been a part of every summer Olympics, and they consist of dressage, eventing, and jumping. Another interesting tidbit is that these are the only events that permit the use of animals. I’m glad they realize that the horses that make it to the Olympics are just as much of an athlete as their riders! Equestrian events were really a men’s sport until the 1952 Olympics where women were finally allowed to ride, and it also one of the few events where men and women compete against each other.
Germany holds the record for winning the most gold medals at 21 in equestrianism, but the United States has won the most medals overall at 49. Sweden, France, and Great Britain are all in the running. Some famous Olympians you may recognize are Alois Podhajsky, Reiner Klimke, Anky van Grunsven, Michael Page, Phillip Dutton, and Hans Gunter Winkler. I’m sure we will be added some new names to that list after this summer!