Beginners’ guide to Olympic eventing


The format

  • This is a four-star three-day event consisting of dressage (over the first two days), cross-country (third day) and showjumping (fourth and final day).
  • Some nations field only individuals, while others field a team. Team riders are also competing for individual medals. Teams consist of three to five riders, with the best three scores counting.
  • The team result is decided after the dressage (Olympic four-star test), cross-country (42-45 jumping efforts up to 1.20m high – or 1.45m for brush – round a course of about 10min at 570m per minute) and first round of showjumping (1.25m, maximum 16 jumping efforts).
  • Later on the same day, there is a second round of showjumping (1.30m, maximum 12 jumping efforts) – riders’ scores in this are added to their penalties from the dressage, cross-country and first showjumping round to determine the individual medals. Only the top 25 riders jump the second round, with a maximum of three riders per nation competing.
  • Riders do dressage and cross-country in a drawn team order – so one team rider from each country, then the second team rider and so on – with individuals interspersed. The showjumping is in reverse order of merit.

    Read all the latest Olympic news

    Find out how to watch the equestrian Olympics on TV

  • Originally published on