Equestrian events are the only Olympic competitions that involve animals.

The Olympic equestrian events are Jumping, Dressage and Eventing. In each,  both individual and team medals are awarded. Both men and women compete in equestrian events.

Going over a jump. ©Getty Images

Going over a jump. ©Getty Images

Jumping events

This is an equestrian event for teams of four riders and their horses, and there's also a jumping event for single riders. Each rider must must make their horse jump over about 14 or 15 sets of rails.

They must do this in a set time. They lose points if the horse knocks any of the rails, or if the horse will not jump, or if the horse takes too long to complete the course.

A dressage rider ©Getty Images

A dressage rider ©Getty Images

Dressage (say: dress-arj )

The riders make their horses do about thirty six different moves. Some moves are very slow. The moves test the horse's strength and balance as well as how well horse and rider work together. The horse looks like it is dancing.

Eventing

Eventing has three parts. The first part is dressage.

Cross country events include water to cross. ©Getty Images

Cross country events include water to cross. ©Getty Images

The second is cross country, when riders have to ride their horses along a track in a set time. The cross country requires speed and strength as the horses gallop along a track in a set time. As well as this there are a number of walls, logs and fences they jump over, and a water crossing.

The third part of the contest is jumping, which shows how fit and strong the horses are after a cross country race. Individual riders and teams of four compete in this event.

 

Read about equestrian events at the Olympic Games:

Watch a video about horse riding