The Tokyo Olympics were packed with memorable moments from the three equestrian disciplines spread over six events. The United States cleaned up with silver medal performances in team dressage and team show jumping as eventing saw its first female individual champion ever and Great Britain ended a decades-long drought for team eventing gold.
Germany defended its team dressage title with an emphatic victory in the first equestrian event of the Tokyo Games.
"Dressage Queen" Isabell Werth won her 11th Olympic medal and has now won a gold medal from four different decades. But it was her fellow German, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, who rode the finest test of the final—in her Olympic debut. Dorothee Schneider rounded out the golden German squad.
A U.S. team anchored by Olympic newcomer Sabine Schut-Kery, who is originally from Germany, took second overall in its best team dressage finish since 1948. Steffen Peters, who also hails from Germany, became the oldest U.S. Olympic medalist at age 56 and was joined by his World Equestrian Games silver medal teammate Adrienne Lyle.
Silver: United States
Bronze: Great Britain
One day later, Werth broke her own record, riding to individual silver for the 12th Olympic medal of her career. Her German teammate von Bredow-Werndl topped the leaderboard with a stunning 91.732 to capture the individual title and complete a golden dressage sweep in her first Olympics.
Charlotte Dujardin (GBR), the defending Rio gold medalist, won bronze, and Sabine Schut-Kery finished in fifth as the highest-placed American.
Equestrian is as much about the equine athletes as it is the human athletes, and no horse was a bigger sensation than Steffen Peters' "Rave Horse." Suppenkasper, a 13-year-old KWPN also known as Mopsie, performed his individual freestyle routine to an electronic mix specially crafted just for his routine and stride.
Gold: Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (GER)
Silver: Isabell Werth (GER)
Bronze: Charlotte Dujardin (GBR)
Brit Oliver Townend and his horse Ballaghmor Class put up a dominant first two legs of the eventing competition, which was scored for both individual and team medals at the same time, but it was German Julia Krajewski who won a historic gold after the jumping phase aboard Amande De B'Neville.
Krajewski became the first woman to win individual gold in eventing, an event that barred women from Olympic competition until the first time the Games were held in Tokyo back in 1964. This was her second Olympic medal after winning silver in team eventing at the Rio Games.
Rio gold medalist Michael Jung (GER) was back in action with a dashing start in dressage, but a tough trip around the cross country course knocked him and his mount Chipmunk FRH out of medal contention.
Gold: Julia Krajewski (GER)
Silver: Tom McEwen (GBR)
Bronze: Andrew Hoy (AUS)
Great Britain won its first team eventing title since 1972, breaking a decades-long gold medal drought in the event. Oliver Townend drove the British charge with one of the lowest dressage scores and a clear cross country ride. The three-person team, which also included Tom McEwen and Laura Collett, had only eight faults in the jumping portion.
France, the defending champions, finished with bronze, and the Americans finished in sixth.
Gold: Great Britain
The U.S. show jumping team was making news even before the Olympics kicked off. Jessica Springsteen, the daughter of rock musician Bruce Springsteen, was selected to represent the United States at the Tokyo Games after years of working her way to the sport's highest level. She made her Olympic debut aboard her Belgian Warmblood stallion Don Juan van de Donkhoeve in the individual jumping qualifier and was tantalizingly close to advancing to the final.
No Americans made it past the revamped individual show jumping qualifier, but Sweden was on fire with all three of its riders going clean. The next day, the Swedish trio of Henrik von Eckermann, Malin Baryard-Johnsson and Peder Fredricson went clear in the individual final and six-horse jump-off.
While a speedy effort from Fredricson and two-time Olympian equine All In captured individual silver, it was Brit Ben Maher who soared to gold aboard Explosion W to collect his second Olympic title in his fourth-straight appearance.
Gold: Ben Maher (GBR)
Silver: Peder Fredricson (SWE)
Bronze: Maikel van der Vleuten (NED)
After a day off, horses returned for the team competition. The usual European powerhouses were in action, with Sweden looking to stay perfect and France hoping to defend the team gold title it won at the Rio Games.
The Tokyo Games debuted a reformatted team show jumping competition where three, and only three, riders would complete jumping rounds, with each and every score mattering. Previously, four riders would go for each team, and the worst time would be dropped.
While Kent Farrington rode for the U.S. in the individual competition, Team USA subbed him out for five-time Olympian McLain Ward and his horse Contagious. The Americans had one rail down each and qualified for the final in fifth place with 12 jumping penalties and one time penalty. Ten of the 19 teams advanced to the final the following day.
In the team final, Sweden picked up its first penalties in four days of Olympic competition—one downed jump each for Baryard-Johnsson and Fredricson.
France was in the driver's seat heading into the final rotation until anchor rider Penelope Leprevost had a shocking elimination, which brought Belgium back onto the podium for bronze.
Sweden and the U.S. headed to a jump-off for gold. All six horse and rider pairs went clear over the eight-jump course, but in the final rotation, a blistering trip from Fredricson lifted Sweden to gold by just 1.3 seconds for the country's first team show jumping title since 1924.
Silver: United States