Olympics 2021: Everything You Need to Know About Eventing

July 29, 2021 2 min read

Olympics 2021: Everything You Need to Know About Eventing

Arguably the most exciting Equestrian sport in the Olympics, Eventing is the competition most of us have been waiting for. It’s guaranteed to have thrills, spills and ‘heart in mouth’ moments, as well some amazingly skilled horses and riders. We’re here to fill you in on everything you need to know about the eventing, plus all the times and how to watch.  

What is eventing?

For those who don’t know or who are new to the horsey world, eventing is where a horse and rider compete in three different phases – dressage, cross country and showjumping. Their scores from all three of these phases are then combined to create an overall score.

At a lower level, eventing can start from fences of 80cm and a standard British Eventing dressage test that includes walk, trot, and canter movements. However, at the Olympics the fences are a whopping 1.20-1:30m high, and the dressage movements are advanced, involving the likes of half pass and flying changes.

What is the format for the Olympic Eventing?

The format this year for the Olympics is slightly different to the past. Teams will be made up of three different horse and rider combinations, but there will also be substitutes who can carry on in the event of an injury or withdrawal.

Dressage Olympic EventingThe dressage is the first phase of the competition, which takes place over two days. The judges award marks out of 10 which are turned into a percentage score at the end of the test.

Competitors then take on the cross-country phase, and any penalties picked up during this time are added to the dressage score. Penalties are given for refusals or exceeding the time allowed. If a rider falls off their horse they are automatically eliminated. 

Olympic eventing showjumping

The last phase of the competition is the showjumping, where penalties are awarded for knocking down poles, refusals or exceeding the time allowed. Similarly to the cross country, a rider is automatically eliminated for falling off their horse.

The aim of the game with eventing is to finish on the lowest possible penalty score, with riders aiming to finish on what they scored for the dressage. This means that they do not add any more penalties onto their score throughout the cross country or jumping.

How to watch the eventing at the Olympics?

Sadly live coverage of the dressage and cross country events won’t be shown on the BBC (which is a shame because the cross country is the best bit!). However, you can watch the events either live or on catch up on Eurosport player and discovery+. You can subscribe to the platform where you get three days for free as a trial, and then after that it will cost you £4.99 a month. So, if you wanted to be sneaky, you could just sign up on the day and remember to cancel your account after three days! Equally, if you’re happy to just watch the highlights rather than the full competition, the BBC will be covering it as part of their evening programme.

What time is the eventing on?

The eventing will be held between the 30th July and the 2nd of August. Check out the below timetable for the specifics times of each competition:

Olympic Eventing Timetable

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