In five months the first horse will be cantering down centerline at the 2020 Olympic Games at the Equestrian Park in Tokyo, Japan. In recent weeks there have been several announcements regarding details for the Games to catch up on and there are several important dates to put in your calendar.
The full timetable for the Olympics was released in mid-February including the time for the horse inspections and the start time change for the cross-country. It was announced that the cross-country start time would move up 45 minutes to enable an 11:00 a.m. finish. This is due to the anticipation of high heat and humidity. This decision was made after the Tokyo test event last summer and the results of the FEI official climate impact study and horse monitoring project. Other sports have had changes as well due to the heat with the marathon and race-walking competitions moving to the Japanese island of Hokkaido, where it is cooler, and the times changing for the triathlon.
In addition to the new start time, the cross-country course was shortened to approximately 8 minutes and 4,500 meters. “The welfare of both human and equine athletes is at the heart of the FEI’s decision-making process and these decisions have been taken to allow competing nations to optimize their performances in the Tokyo summer climate,” said the FEI in a statement.
Eventing is the second of the three equestrian disciplines with pure dressage starting on July 25 and jumping on August 3. The 2020 Olympics get underway with the opening ceremony on Friday, July 24.
2020 Olympics Eventing Schedule
Thursday, July 30
9:30 – 11:30 a.m. – First Horse Inspection
Friday, July 31
8:00 – 10:30 a.m and 5:30 – 8:10 p.m. – Dressage (44 pairs)
Saturday, August 1
8:00 – 10:30 a.m. – Dressage (21 pairs)
Sunday, August 2
7:45 – 11:15 a.m. – Cross-Country
Monday, August 3
9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – Second Horse Inspection
5:00 – 7:30 p.m. – Team Show Jumping and Individual Qualifier
8:45 – 9:45 p.m. – Individual Show Jumping (top 25 pairs)
On February 17, the FEI also updated the qualification document with the quotas for the 20 individuals. The countries who will be represented as individuals are Netherlands (2), Belgium, Spain, Russia (2), Canada (2), Chile, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Pakistan, India, Hong Kong, Czech Republic (2), Belarus (2), Denmark, and Austria.
Pakistan qualified for an Olympic equestrian spot for the first time and the Czech Republic and Hong Kong, which have both qualified for an individual place in eventing, are planning to return to the Games for the first time since Beijing 2008. “The new formats have opened the door for more nations to compete at the Games, with show jumping going up from 27 in Rio to 35 in Tokyo, dressage increasing from 25 to 30 and eventing rising from 24 to 30. In total, the number of flags has risen from 43 in Rio to 48 in Tokyo,” the FEI reported.
The 15 countries participating as teams remain the same from the October 2019 Tokyo Talk.
All riders (whether on a team or individual) must achieve their MER between January 2019 and June 1, 2020. The MER for the Olympics requires that the horse and rider as a pair have a qualifying result at:
The qualifying result must have:
If countries with a team or individual spot are unable to qualify their riders by June 1 then the spots will be reallocated according to the Qualification System.
Important Dates To Remember
All U.S. riders who want to have a chance of being selected for the U.S. Eventing Team were required to complete the Olympic Games Application by February 14. U.S. Equestrian received 24 applications and only those who applied have a chance to be named to the team.
There are three selection trials left: Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event (April 24-29), Badminton Horse Trials (May 6-10), and Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event (May 6-10).
The USEF will announce the preparation event (final outing) by no later than May 15.
By no later than June 1, three riders and horses will be named to the team along with a traveling reserve and up to the maximum number of reserves able to be nominated.
The closing date for entries due to the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee is June 8.
The final athlete/horse combinations will be announced on July 6.
The declaration of starters will be announced on July 30.
“We have 13 athletes and 15 horses on our Elite and Pre-Elite training list, but I have also worked with a few athletes outside this list who are also Olympic possibilities. It is a very open book as to who will go to Tokyo, so it is up to the athletes to make sure they use every available day to make their improvements and put on the best performance at the selection trials,” said U.S. Eventing Performance Director Erik Duvander in his February 2020 update.
Stay tuned for more Tokyo Talk as we countdown the months to the Olympics!
The USEA Annual Meeting & Convention is an event that many USEA members look forward to year after year to catch up with their fellow eventing enthusiasts and stay up to date on all the latest work happening on the USEA Committees and Task Forces, but there’s so much more to explore. The educational opportunities offered at this year’s Convention, which takes place on Dec. 7-10 at the Marriott St. Louis Grand hotel in St. Louis, Missouri, are endless and afford members with the opportunity to expand their horizons through a full schedule of seminars and events. Plus, each day of the Convention counts as one ECP Continuing Education credit for those in attendance!
Each year every member of the USEA receives a nomination ballot to submit nominees to the Board of Governors and during the Annual Meeting of Members, all members are invited to vote for those individuals nominated to serve. All members receive a proxy to vote for their chosen representatives for those unable to attend the Annual Meeting of Members. The only restriction for Board membership is that they must be USEA members. There are 10 positions representing each Area of the country and 11 at-large positions with no other restrictions.
Effective Dec. 1, 2023, USEF rule EV145.8 will require, whenever possible, new cross-country obstacles (for which frangible devices are appropriate) to be constructed with FEI approved frangible technology for the Training level and above (previously it was Modified and above).
The Ram Tap Horse Park Horse Trials hosted the final USEA Classic Series Event of the year this past weekend in Fresno, California. The event offered three traditional long-format divisions at the Beginner Novice, Novice, and Training levels. Meet the final USEA Classic Series champions of 2024 below.