2012 Olympic Equestrian Events: Rules and Format

Yahoo Contributor Network

One of the funniest angles of the 2012 Olympic Games will be the equestrian events. If you are not familiar with creative dressage performances at standard equestrian championships, YouTube can clear up any misunderstandings. However, behind the scenes and during the London Olympics, the rules can be difficult to follow for those unfamiliar with the sport.

Whether you love horse racing or simply adore horses, a brief introduction to the rules and regulations for the Olympic equestrian events will help you enjoy this exciting history-making experience.

Behind the scenes equestrian Olympic rules

Watching equestrian events on TV, you may not be aware of all of the hurdles the horse and rider have already jumped over. For example, there is an age minimum for the horse of nine years old. Of course, since one of the riders participating in the 2012 London Olympic Games is over 70 years old, it is safe to say there is no age maximum for the riders.

Naturally, one of the main concerns is drugged or doped horses and the general health of the animal. Once the tests come back clean, there are still many boxes to check off the list before the rider and horse step into the ring. For a complete list of pre-qualifying and procedural rules and regulations for Olympic equestrian events, consult the official updated list from HorseSport.org.

Easy to break rules and regulations at Olympic equestrian events

After the talk about horses is out of the way, there is a set of rules that the Olympic equestrian officials are stern about. They claim that the "ultimate survival" of the athlete depends upon their sportsman's code of fair play.

While there are plenty of regulations for Olympic equestrian athletes, there are also a few rules for the spectators. According to the official equestrian Olympic code of fair play, "Audiences should carefully avoid acts that might upset the horses, such as untimely movement, applause or flash photography, especially in venues that bring them into close proximity to the competitors."

Finally, they convey that the responsibility of a journalist is, "resisting the temptation to oversimplify or over-dramatise a story."

Who is in charge of Olympic equestrian rules?

Since 1921, the international body governing Olympic and professional equestrian events has been called The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI). As part of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) they will continue a 100 year tradition of organizing judging for Jumping, Dressage and Eventing at the 2012 London Games.

Official rules and regulations for Olympic equestrian events

When you click out from the HorseSport.org website to the official page for the Olympics at FEI.org, you will see the "Rules and Point System for FEI Olympic Riders" listed near the bottom. They also list the current riders' rankings next to the rules.

If you already have a good idea of what the FEI Olympic regulations for equestrian events looks like, you may be in luck. The website states that the rules have not been updated since the winter of 2010-2011.

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Maryam Louise is a longtime resident of the Bluegrass State and has lived in the shadows of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky over the past two decades. In addition to being a fan of horse racing, she has also had a chance to get to know jockeys, horse groomers, and betting clerks as an ESL instructor. Currently, she writes for KentuckyDerby.org and relies on her friends in the multiple facets of the equine industry for writing inspiration.

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