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Rio 2016 Equestrian Olympics & Paralympics

This year the Olympics and Paralympics is being held in the vibrant city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Olympics runs from 5th– 21st August and has three disciplines, dressage, eventing and show jumping, with both individuals and teams competing. The Paralympics runs from 7th - 18th September and consists of individual, team and freestyle dressage.

Top of the Table in 2012

A successful 2012 Olympics here in London saw Great Britain top the medal table achieving 3 gold medals and 5 medals in total for equestrian events.

Individual Dressage: Gold with Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro and Bronze with Laura Bechtolsheimer on Mistral Hojris

Team Dressage: Gold with Carl Hester on Uthopia, Laura Bechtolsheimer on Mistral Hojris and Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro.

Team Eventing: Silver with Nicola Wilson on Opposition Buzz, Mary King on Imperial Cavalier, Zara Phillips on High Kingdom and William Fox-Pitt on Lionheart.

Team Jumping: Gold with Scott Brach on Hell Sanctos, Peter Charles on Vindicat, Ben Maher on Tripple X and Nick Skelton on Big Star.

Great Britain also topped the medal tables at the equestrian Paralympics in 2012, achieving 5 gold medals and 11 medals in total. The Paralympic events are classified by the type and extend of disability to allow for a balanced level of competition.

Individual Dressage: Gold with Sophie Christiansen and Natasha Baker. Silver with Lee Pearson, Deborah Criddle and Sophie Wells.

Individual Freestyle: Gold with Sophie Christiansen and Natasha Baker. Silver with Deborah Criddle and Sophie Wells. Bronze with Lee Pearson.

Team Dressage: Gold with Sophie Christiansen, Lee Pearson, Deborah Criddle and Sophie Wells.

Lets hope we can repeat or even beat this achievement in Rio this year!

Rio 2016

The  Olympics has a million square metre Equestrian Centre that houses the dressage, jumping, eventing and cross-country areas as well as horse and trainer accommodations. It was originally built for the Pan American Games in 2007 and has been expanded for the Olympics.

The dressage competition has seven judges that will award scores from 0 - 10 and 3 faults will eliminate the rider. The jumping course consists of 8 -12 obstacles and the course needs to be completed quickly while avoiding faults from refusals or knocking rails of jumps. The eventing includes dressage, cross country and jumping and the score is the total penalties from all the disciplines and counts towards individual and team events.

The weather in Rio de Janeiro in August and September averages at around 22℃ and that is their winter! Still that means the temperature isn't too extreme for our British horses and riders to compete in. The athletes representing Great Britain are yet to be announced and the event itself is just under 3 months away.

The FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) is the world governing body of equestrian sport. They help to protect the welfare of both horses and riders and ensure that events are conducted in a fair and structured way. The FEI has released a video as part of their #TwoHearts campaign to illustrate the bond between horse and rider on the run up to the Rio 2016 Olympics.

The describes Rio 2016 as where you'll see "TwoHearts have the nerve to trust, unite, perform as one" and it displays qualities found in horse and rider including agility, precision, strength, drive and true grit. It also highlights the fact that equestrian is the only Olympic sport where women and men compete equally.

There are mixed reviews of the video with people disagreeing about whether it really illustrates the true relationship between horse and rider. Either way it certainly feels fresh and innovative.


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