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21 equestrian nations look to Olympic Games

January 10, 2012

» Horse-trading and the Olympics Blog

Equestrians from 21 countries are counting down to the London Olympic Games, which marked 200 days to go on January 9.

Pierre de Champsavin (France) riding Terpsichore to bronze in the Prix de Nations at the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris.

Belgian rider Emmanuel de Blommaert and Clonmore won individual bronze in jumping in Stockholm in 1912.

This year's Olympics will also celebrate 100 years of horse sport at the Olympics, with the three disciplines of eventing, dressage and jumping making their debut at Stockholm in Sweden in 1912. Riders from the home team won all the gold medals, except in the individual jumping, which was won by Jean Cariou and Mignon for France.

Earlier, there were five equestrian events at the 1900 Olympics in Paris: jumping, high jumping, long jump, and two "non-Olympic" events - Hacks and hunter combined and Mail Coach, in which mail coaches were drawn by four horses.

Eleven countries have now secured the opportunity to join the nine nations already qualified at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010 in Kentucky and hosts Great Britain at London 2012 through a series of qualifiers held around the world for their Olympic Group.

Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, the USA and Ukraine will join hosts Great Britain in team jumping.

Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden and the USA have qualified to compete in team dressage.

Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden and the USA have also secured their opportunity to compete in team eventing.

The total number of teams competing at the 2012 Olympic Games will be confirmed on March 1 when additional composite teams in dressage and eventing made up of three individuals from the same nation are finalised through the FEI Olympic Riders Ranking.

Nations qualifying to send individual riders will also be confirmed on March 1 and riders then have until June 17 to achieve the necessary minimum eligibility criteria to compete at London 2012.

Individual dressage gold medalist in 1912, Sweden's Carl Bonde and Emperor.
"We have had the most exciting build-up during the qualification period, with Canada, Germany, Sweden and the USA qualifying for team places alongside host nation Great Britain in all three Olympic equestrian disciplines," said Catrin Norinder, Olympic Director at the FEI.

"There are still composite team places for two disciplines to secure and of course it's all to play for with the individual riders. We're building up to a thrilling 100-year anniversary for equestrian sport in the Olympics, when 200 riders and horses will compete for individual and team gold, silver and bronze medals in eventing, dressage and jumping."

The Opening Ceremony of the Games of the XXX Olympiad on July 27 will be followed by 12 days of equestrian competition and, for the first time in Olympic history, the final equestrian event will be the Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle to Music held on August 9.



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