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Equestrian at the 2008 Summer Olympics

Equestrian competitions at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics were held from 9 August to 21 August 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.

at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad
Equestrian 2008.png
Pictogram for equestrian at the 2008 Olympic Games
VenueHong Kong Sports Institute
Dates9–21 August
← 2004
2012 →


A Japanese competitor in dressage at the Games

6 sets of medals were awarded in the following events:


Each event has its own qualification rules, but generally rely on FEI rankings.

Dressage qualificationEdit

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 qualificationEdit

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 qualificationEdit

Competition scheduleEdit

All times are Hong Kong Time (UTC+8).

Date Start Finish Event Stage
Saturday, 9 August 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, 10 August 2008 06:30 10:30 Eventing Team Dressage (Day 2)
Eventing Individual Dressage (Day 2)
Monday, 11 August 2008 08:00 11:30 Eventing Team Cross Country (held at Beas River)
Eventing Individual Cross Country (held at Beas River)
Tuesday, 12 August 2008 19:15 22:15 Eventing Team Jumping (Final)
Eventing Individual Jumping (Qualifier)
22:30 23:30 Eventing Individual Jumping (Final)
Wednesday, 13 August 2008 19:15 24:15 Dressage Team Grand Prix (Day 1)
Dressage Individual Grand Prix 1st Qualifier (Day 1)
Thursday, 14 August 2008 19:15 23:45 Dressage Individual Grand Prix 1st Qualifier (Day 2)
Dressage Team Grand Prix (Day 2)
Friday, 15 August 2008 19:15 23:15 Jumping Individual 1st Qualifier
Saturday, 16 August 2008 19:15 24:00 Dressage Individual Grand Prix Special 2nd Qualifier
Sunday, 17 August 2008 19:15 23:15 Jumping Team Final Round 1
Jumping Individual 2nd Qualifier
Monday, 18 August 2008 19:15 22:15 Jumping Team Final Round 2
Jumping Individual 3rd Qualifier
Tuesday, 19 August 2008 19:15 22:15 Dressage Individual Grand Prix Freestyle
Thursday, 21 August 2008 19:15 21:45 Jumping Individual Final Round A
22:00 23:00 Jumping Individual Final Round B

Medal summaryEdit

Medal tableEdit

1  Germany (GER)3115
2  United States (USA)1113
3  Canada (CAN)1102
  Netherlands (NED)1102
5  Australia (AUS)0101
  Sweden (SWE)0101
7  Great Britain (GBR)0022
8  Denmark (DEN)0011
  Switzerland (SUI)0011
Totals (9 nations)66618


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Individual dressage
  Anky van Grunsven
on Salinero (NED)
  Isabell Werth
on Satchmo (GER)
  Heike Kemmer
on Bonaparte (GER)
Team dressage
  Germany (GER)
Heike Kemmer
on Bonaparte
Nadine Capellmann
on Elvis Va
Isabell Werth
on Satchmo
  Netherlands (NED)
Hans Peter Minderhoud
on Nadine
Imke Schellekens-Bartels
on Sunrise
Anky van Grunsven
on Salinero
  Denmark (DEN)
Anne van Olst
on Clearwater
Princess Nathalie of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
on Digby
Andreas Helgstrand
on Don Schufro
Individual eventing
  Hinrich Romeike
on Marius (GER)
  Gina Miles
on McKinlaigh (USA)
  Kristina Cook
on Miners Frolic (GBR)
Team eventing
  Germany (GER)
Peter Thomsen
on The Ghost of Hamish
Frank Ostholt
on Mr. Medicott
Andreas Dibowski
on Butts Leon
Ingrid Klimke
on Abraxxas
Hinrich Romeike
on Marius
  Australia (AUS)
Shane Rose
on All Luck
Sonja Johnson
on Ringwould Jaguar
Lucinda Fredericks
on Headley Britannia
Clayton Fredericks
on Ben Along Time
Megan Jones
on Irish Jester
  Great Britain (GBR)
Sharon Hunt
on Tankers Town
Daisy Dick
on Spring Along
William Fox-Pitt
on Parkmore Ed
Kristina Cook
on Miners Frolic
Mary King
on Call Again Cavalier
Individual jumping
  Eric Lamaze
on Hickstead (CAN)
  Rolf-Göran Bengtsson
on Ninja (SWE)
  Beezie Madden
on Authentic (USA)
Team jumping
  United States (USA)
McLain Ward
on Sapphire
Laura Kraut
on Cedric
Will Simpson
on Carlsson vom Dach
Beezie Madden
on Authentic
  Canada (CAN)
Jill Henselwood
on Special Ed
Eric Lamaze
on Hickstead
Ian Millar
on In Style
Mac Cone
on Ole
  Switzerland (SUI)
Christina Liebherr
on No Mercy
Pius Schwizer
on Nobless M
Niklaus Schurtenberger
on Cantus
Steve Guerdat
on Jalisca Solier


A spectator area and water jump in the eventing portion of the Games

The equestrian competitions were held apart from the main games in Hong Kong, 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 have 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 two 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 an 80 × 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.


An Irish competitor in eventing at the Games

Hong Kong is known to have hot and humid weather with typhoons being common.[1] 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,[2] and the Swiss decided not to send a dressage team because they would have had little chance of success without her.[3]

To combat the heat, the horses were 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 was also an indoor arena for training that was also air-conditioned. Misting fans were placed under tents at both venues to cool off horses that worked outside. There were also vast quantities of ice water available. There was a veterinary clinic on site, which tested the horses' urine several times to ensure they were all properly hydrated.

The cross-country course was also designed with a shorter, alternate route to be used if the heat and humidity warranted it. The show jumping was 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.


Denis Lynch and Latinus in show jumping

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.


  1. ^ Weather in Hong Kong: August, Hong Kong Fast Facts, accessed 5 December 2008
  2. ^ Silvia Ikle Not to Compete at the 2008 Olympic Games Archived 10 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine, 9 January 2008, Eurodressage, accessed 5 December 2008
  3. ^ Swiss Dressage Team Withdraws from Competing at the 2008 Olympics Archived 10 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine, 8 January 2008, Eurodressage, accessed 5 December 2008

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit