In the Summer Olympics equestrianism was first introduced during the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris, France. Initially the event did not prove particularly popular and the event didn’t make a reappearance until the 1912 games and has appeared since. The three equestrian events are dressage, eventing, and jumping. In each individual discipline there are both team and individual medals to compete for. Unlike the majority of competitions, equestrian events are not segregated by gender and men and women compete on equal terms. The horses in equestrian events are considered to be just as much athletes as the rider. The governing body that is responsible for equestrian sports is the Federation Equestrian Internationale.
The original equestrian events that took place during the 1900 Paris Olympic Games were different to the events that are in the current Olympics. The polo competition consisted of four teams that came from Britain, France, Mexico, Spain, and the United States. Grand Prix Jumping was also one of the original events which was similar to the modern day show jumping event, in which 45 competitors entered, although only 37 actually competed during the Olympics. The last original events were the high jump competition and long jump competitions.
The equestrian events were dropped from the 1904 Olympic Games, and were largely reintroduced due to the intervention of Count Clarence von Roses, who was Master of the Horse to the King of Sweden. The 1906 International Olympic Committee agreed to the count’s proposal to add dressage, eventing, and show jumping to the program of the upcoming 1908 Olympic Games in London. Unfortunately there were issues with the newly formed International Horse Show Committee and the events were not reintroduced to the Olympic Games again until 1912.
Up until the 1952 Summer Olympics, it was only commissioned military officers and “gentlemen” who were allowed to be able to compete in the Olympic equestrian disciplines, the side effect of this was that all women were excluded from competing, and all men serving in the military but were not commissioned also could not compete.
In 1952 the restrictions of who was allowed to compete were relaxed, allowing all men to be able to compete; women however had to wait until 1974 to be allowed to compete in all equestrian events.