Equestrian sport at the YOG: from family rivalry to unfamiliar horses
From the two sets of twins hoping to represent their country to the riders competing on horses they don’t know, we unveil some of the more unusual facts about the equestrian competition at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Buenos Aires 2018.
Equestrian sport is one of the mainstays of the Olympic Games, and has appeared in every edition since 1912. While there are three main forms of equestrian competition, namely jumping, dressage and eventing, jumping will be the sole discipline at the YOG Buenos Aires 2018; and that’s not the only thing you might need to know before the competition starts…
Riding on borrowed horsesUnlike Olympic equestrian competitions, the athletes don’t get to choose their own horses and instead compete on borrowed animals supplied by the Organising Committee. The horses are assigned by a random draw, and riders have only a few days to forge a partnership, putting the emphasis on pure horsemanship and the athletes’ ability to adapt.
Equestrianism is one of the few sports in which men and women compete on equal terms all the way up to Olympic level. In fact, in the two previous editions of the YOG, the six medals on offer in the individual competition have gone to three female and three male athletes, each gender claiming one bronze, one silver and one gold. It seems equestrianism at the YOG has a history of leading the way when it comes to gender equality. At the inaugural YOG in Singapore in 2010, the equestrian competition provided the setting for Saudi Arabia’s first-ever female Olympic athlete to participate. Not only did Dalma Rushdi Malhas take part in the competition, she returned home with a bronze medal.