Tokyo 2020 - British Eventing
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Tokyo 2020



The next Olympics will be held in Tokyo Japan in 2020.





 Axel Nordlander (SWE) 1912 Olympic eventing winner


Olympic History


The first occurrence of eventing in the Olympics was in 1912 when Count Clarence von Rosen, Master of the Horse to the King of Sweden, devised the first event.  The objective was to test Cavalry officers' chargers for their fitness and suitability.   With this cavalry background in some countries the sport is still referred to as 'Military' (such as Military Boekelo, a CCI***) although the word 'Eventing' is now the leading term for the sport. Pictured is Axel Nordlander (SWE) Eventing's first Olympic medalist from 1912.


Since the Olympics of 1948, Britain has become one of the most successful nations in the history of the sport, with more than 270 medals in 99 years of Olympic,  World  and European competition



The Olympic eventing competition was originally open only to male military officers in active duty, mounted only on military charges. Each Cavalry Officer was required to carry 182 pounds and ride with a double bridle except for the steeplechase section. On the first day, each rider had to complete a long distance ride of 33 miles followed by a cross-country test of three miles over natural obstacles with a 15-minute time limit.  On the second day, officers rode over a steeplechase course.  The third day was devoted to show ring jumping, and the fourth day to dressage.  The ten minute dressage test utilized seven judges. The test included a collected and fast walk, collected and fast trot, rein back, gallop, pirouette and jumping.  Reins could be held in either one or both hands.

The Paris Olympics in 1924 established the present pattern for the three-day event. The only difference between the present three-day test was a Phase E at the end, which was a run-in of 1.25 miles to cool the horse down.

In the 1948 London Olympics the Eventing competition was held at Tweseldown Racecourse (Hants), a Edwardian point to point course and still a current venue for British Eventing competitions. It was the performance of the British team at that competition that spurred the Duke of Beaufort to start the now famous and the world's most prestigious Eventing competition, the  Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials  which also initiated the start of national horse trials competitions, managed by the Combined Training group of the BHS.  



Eventing continued mostly unchanged until 1963 when the 10-minute halt in a specially marked area (the '10-minute box') was introduced, to occur after the completion of phases A, B, and C. The horse was checked by two judges and one veterinary official who would make sure the horse was fit to continue onto phase D. If the horse was unfit, the panel would pull it from the competition. In 1967 Phase E was also eliminated from the competition.

The next major change did not occur until 2004 and 2005, with the creation of the "short" or "modified format," which excluded phases A, B, and C from endurance day, i.e roads and tracks and steeple chase.

The last Olympic Games that included the long, or "classic", three-day format was the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, while Rolex Kentucky, the Badminton Horse Trials, and Burghley Horse Trials ran their last long format three-day in 2005. The short format is now the standard for all international competitions.  In the UK a few events still put on the traditional 'long-format' competition at the lower level of BE100.

Equal Competitors

Although women had been allowed to ride in equestrian events since 1952 and compete on equal terms, it wasn't until Helena du Pont competed for the United States at the 1964 Tokyo Games that Eventing saw its first woman representing her country.


Mexico 1968 Gold medal team

 Our President Jane Holderness-Roddam CBE LVO (nee Bullen) was the first British woman to be part of the British Team that competed in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, winning team gold for Great Britain, alongside l to r: Derek Allhusen, Richard Meade, Staff Sergeant Reuben (Ben) Jones.