A new format for the Olympic eventing competition is being used in Tokyo this week.

Shorter dressage test

A shorter dressage test will be used which takes just under four minutes to complete.

The dressage and jumping phases will be staged at Baji Koen Equestrian Centre in the city — where the dressage was also held — while the cross-country action will unfold at Sea Forest Park in Tokyo Bay.

The cross-country venue is about 30km away from Equestrian Park and to enable a finish by 11am (Japan Standard Time), the first horse is due on to the course at 7.45am.

This is 11.45pm on Saturday night in the UK.

Shorter cross-country course

The cross-country course is also shorter, taking approximately eight minutes to complete. This is due to research during the Ready Steady Tokyo Equestrian Test event at Sea Forest in August 2019, when an FEI official climate impact study and horse monitoring project took place.

Teams of three

There are only three riders on a team this time too, with all three scores counting towards a team’s final standing. Previously an Olympic team was made up of four riders with only the best three scores counting.

Each nation takes a travelling reserve to Tokyo who can be substituted in for medical/veterinarian reasons for any part of the competition, even after it has started.

Theoretically, this means a horse and rider could showjump on the final day even if they haven’t completed the dressage and cross-country phases — but they can only be subbed in for a horse who is out due to medical or veterinary reasons.

If a reserve rider is subbed on to the team after the competition starts there is 20-penalty ‘fine’ added to the team’s score.

Also, if a reserve is stepping up to showjump in order to replace a combination who are retired or eliminated on the cross-country, the eliminated/retired rider’s cross-country score will be 200 penalties and these will count in a team’s cumulative score.

Team and individual competitions run concurrently on consecutive days, with a second showjumping round on the final day for the top 25 riders in order to decide the individual medals.

As usual, a drawn starting order will be used for the dressage and cross-Country tests, and riders will go in reverse order of merit on the final showjumping day.

The drawn team order is:

  1. Thailand
  2. Great Britain
  3. USA
  4. Switzerland
  5. Japan
  6. Australia
  7. China
  8. Poland
  9. Sweden
  10. France
  11. Italy
  12. Ireland
  13. New Zealand
  14. Germany
  15. Brazil

Main photo by FEI/Hippo Foto – Dirk Caremans

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