Venue: Greenwich Park
Dates: Thursday 2nd August – Thursday 9th August
Competing Athletes: 50
Medal Events: 2
In modern Dressage competitions, the horse and rider perform a series of movements known as a Dressage test. The tests are performed in a 60m x 20m arena before a panel of seven judges, who award scores for individual movements and for the overall routine.
The Dressage competition consists of a Team event, which includes the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special rounds, and an Individual event, which includes the Grand Prix, the Grand Prix Special and the Grand Prix Freestyle. The Team and Individual events are conducted simultaneously: a rider’s score in a test may be counted in both events.
In the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special, all riders and horses perform the same tests. After the Grand Prix Special, medals are awarded in the Team event. However, the Individual event continues: the 18 riders with the best scores in the Grand Prix Special then qualify for the Grand Prix Freestyle, for which riders perform their own freestyle routines set to music. The scores in this round decide the winners of the Individual competition.
- Canter: A steady controlled gait for which three of the horse’s legs are off the ground at once.
- Full-pass: When a horse moves sideways, bent in the direction of movement.
- Half-pass: When a horse moves forwards and sideways at the same time, bent in the direction of movement.
- Piaffe: A trotting movement, performed almost on the spot.
- Self-carriage: When a horse moves in balance without support from the reins.
The contestants deliver poise and precision in the equestrian dressage freestyle grand prix at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games.