How is Olympic equestrian judged?


Riders must complete the course in a specified time that is calculated on an average of meters per minute, but they are not racing against the clock. If a rider fails to finish the course in time they are given one penalty for every four seconds after the allotted time. Riders are also penalized for knocking down obstacles and refusing to jump. 

In the individual event, the final results are determined by adding the penalties acquired in courses A and B. In the team event the scores from the first two qualifying rounds are used to determine the points for each team. A team's three best scores from each round are used, with the lowest rider's score omitted from the final total. 

In the event of a tie for first, second, or third place, there is a jump-off against the clock. This takes place on a shortened course with at least six obstacles, which may be raised or widened. If there is still a tie after one jump-off, a second one will take place. If the tie is still not broken after the second jump-off, the riders will be placed equally.

What are the faults in Olympic equestrian jumping?

In jumping, faults are given according to this scale:

  • 4 Faults: Obstacle knocked down or hoof on white border of water jump
  • 4 Faults: First disobedience of horse
  • 4 Faults: One or more feet in the water jump
  • Elimination: Second disobedience of horse
  • Elimination: Fall of horse
  • 8 Faults: First fall of the rider
  • Elimination: Second fall of the rider
  • Elimination: Fall of the rider and horse as a combination
  • Elimination: Exceeding the time limit

How do you win the jumping event in Olympic equestrian?

In the jumping competition, rider-horse combinations accrue penalty points, or faults, during a timed round. The rider-horse combination with the fewest faults wins. 


Five judges evaluate all of the riders' and horses' movements and certain transitions on a zero to 10-point scale (for example, 0 is "not executed," 5 is "sufficient" and 10 is "excellent"). Aside from the judged movements, the judges also award four "collective" marks for freedom and regularity of the paces; the impulsion of the horse; the submission of the horse; and the position and form of the rider. Each collective mark is awarded from 0 to 10. Errors are penalized according to the following scale:

  • 1st time: 2 points
  • 2nd time: 4 points
  • 3rd time: Elimination

For the final rankings, each judge gives a percentage score to three decimal places. The percentage scores are then added and divided by five to obtain the competitor's final percentage score for that portion of the competition.

How do you win the dressage event in Olympic equestrian?

The winning individual is the rider/horse combination with the highest total percentage in the Grand Prix Freestyle. The winning team is decided by adding together the team's three best total scores from the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special. 


The eventing competition consists of dressage, cross-country and jumping events, scored as follows.

  • Dressage: Three judges score the dressage test, giving points based on required movements. Judges also rate four overall qualities, known as collective marks (freedom and regularity of the paces, the impulsion of the horse, the submission of the horse and the position and form of the rider). For the final score, each judge gives an individual mark to each rider, which is the percentage of the maximum possible good marks that the rider could have achieved. The average percentage for the competitor is calculated by adding together the percentage from each judge and dividing it by the number of judges. In order to convert the percentage into penalty points, this total must be subtracted from 100 and multiplied by 1.5. This score is then combined with the rider's jumping and cross-country scores.
  • Cross country: Riders are penalized 0.4 points per second they finish after the optimum time, which is calculated by dividing the chosen distance by the chosen speed. Riders must complete the course in twice the optimum time in order to avoid elimination. The jumping penalties for the cross-country event are as follows:
    • 1st disobedience: 20 penalties
    • 2nd disobedience (at same obstacle): 40 penalties
    • 3rd disobedience on course: Elimination
    • Fall of horse, rider, or both: Elimination
    • Zero is the perfect score a rider can tally from the cross-country test.
  • Jumping: Competitors are penalized one penalty for each second (or partial second) they finish after the optimum time. Exceeding the time limit results in elimination. The following penalty system is used for faults:
    • Knocking down obstacles, or marking strip of water: 4 penalties
    • 1st disobedience: 4 penalties
    • 2nd disobedience: Elimination
    • Fall of horse, rider, or both: elimination
    • The first round of jumping will determine the winner of the team event. The second round of jumping will determine the winner of the individual event. 

How do you win the eventing competition in Olympic equestrian?

In eventing's team competition, the winning team is the one with the lowest penalty marks after tallying the final scores from the team's three highest-placed riders. In case of a tie, the winning team will be the one who his the three highest individual placings.

The individual eventing winner is decided by tallying the penalty points acquired in the dressage, jumping and cross-country competitions. The rider with the fewest total penalty points wins. If there is a tie, the standings will be decided by the best overall cross-country score. If the riders are still deadlocked, the winner will be determined by which rider's time in the cross-country event is closest to the optimum time. If the tie still remains, the rider with the best individual final jumping score will win. If the tie is still not broken, the one with the fastest time in the individual final jumping competition will win. If a tie remains, the winner will be the rider with the best total collective marks in the dressage test. If all of these are used and a tie still remains, the riders will be placed equally.