Equestrian events were first included in the Olympic Games in 1900. By 1912, all three Olympic disciplines still seen today were part of the games. The following forms of competition are recognized worldwide and are a part of the equestrian events at the Olympics:
Dressage ("training" in French) involves the progressive training of the horse to a high level of impulsion, collection, and obedience. Competitive dressage has the goal of showing the horse carrying out, on request, the natural movements that it performs without thinking while running loose. One dressage master has defined it as "returning the freedom of the horse while carrying the rider."
Show jumping comprises a timed event judged on the ability of the horse and rider to jump over a series of obstacles, in a given order and with the fewest refusals or knockdowns of portions of the obstacles.
Eventing, also called combined training, horse trials, the three-day event, the Military, or the complete test, puts together the obedience of dressage with the athletic ability of show jumping, the fitness demands the cross-country jumping phase. In the last-named, the horses jump over fixed obstacles, such as logs, stone walls, banks, ditches, and water, trying to finish the course under the "optimum time." There was also the 'Steeple Chase' Phase, which is now excluded from most major competitions to bring them in line with the Olympic standard.
Additional events sanctioned by the FEI as international disciplines include combined driving, reining, equestrian vaulting, endurance riding and paralympic competition. While these events are recognized internationally and are all part of the FEI World Equestrian Games, none are yet part of the Summer Olympics, though some, such as vaulting and reining, are potentially on track to be added.
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