Olympic Games

From Tokyo 2020 onwards, eventing at the Olympic Games will take on a unique format. Teams are now made up of just three combinations and they can be substituted, if required, at different points throughout the competition.  

When does eventing take place at Tokyo 2021

Friday 30 July 2021: Dressage Session 1

Saturday 31 July 2021: Dressage Session 2

Sunday 1 August 2021: Cross Country

Monday 2 August 2021: Show Jumping and Medal Ceremony

Find out more HERE

Olympic Format

National teams will be composed of three athlete/horse combinations with all three results to count for the team. A fourth rider will be the reserve in case a substitution is required.


Dressage takes place over two days with all riders completing a predetermined test of movements in front of three judges. The judges award marks out of 10 and, after combining the scores to give an overall percentage score, the score is then converted into penalty points (the higher the percentage, the lower the penalty score). 

Cross country

Competitors then take on the cross country and any penalties picked up from this phase are added to their dressage score. Penalties are incurred during this phase for a refusal, run-out or for exceeding the time allowed. Falls of horse or rider result in elimination. 

Show jumping

Show jumping is the final phase and penalties are awarded for knocking down an obstacle, a refusal at a fence or exceeding the optimum time. Riders can be eliminated for a second refusal or a fall. The penalties are then added to the combined dressage and cross country score.

Substitution for the team competition

For the team competition, penalties will be allocated for not starting or non-completion of a phase by all three team riders for any reason. For example, if only two riders complete the cross country, the team can continue in the competition, but penalties will be added to the team score.

A reserve combination will be allowed to be substituted for medical/veterinary reasons in any of the three tests, but 20 penalties will be added to the team score.

Please note that full details are to be confirmed.

Equestrian World Class Programme

The GBR eventing teams are supported by the British Equestrian Federation's World Class Programme, funded by UK Sport through the National Lottery. The Programme focuses on identifying talent, developing potential and maximising medal-winning performances on the world stage. The GB Nations Cup team are funded and supported by the World Class Programme, however selection on to a Nations Cup team does not constitute an automatic invitation to World Class Programme training or on to the World Class Programme (selection criteria for this Programme can be found on the BEF website).

Team GB

For an Olympic Games, the British eventing team are selected by the British Olympic Association (BOA) to become part of Team GB. The BOA is the National Olympic Committee (NOC) for Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 

The BOA now includes 35 National Governing Boadies (NGB), including the BEF of which British Eventing is a member body, of each Olympic sport, both summer and winter. 

Currently, the BOA is one of 205 National Olympic Committes (NOC) recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Their role is to lead the promotion of Olympism in line with the Olympic Charter, which details the philosophy, aims and traditions of the Olympic Movement. 

The BOA has two main roles. The first is to prepare and lead the nation’s competitors at the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games. Working with the NGB, the BOA selects Team GB from the best sportsmen and women who will go on to compete in the 28 summer and seven winter Olympic sports.

Second, the BOA seeks to develop, promote and protect the Olympic Movement within the UK in accordance with the Olympic Charter and the Olympic Values of friendship, excellence and respect. 

You can read more about Team GB and the BOA HERE.

Tokyo Selection Policy (2021)

Olympic Games