Just like the humans breaking world records on the track at Olympic Stadium, on the courts of Wimbledon, and on the pitch at Wembley, the horses who competed in the Olympic equestrian events at London's Greenwich Park are finely tuned athletes who have trained rigorously for their big day in the arena. Historically, the mounts of choice for most riders at the Olympic level have been warmbloods, a group encompassing a number of breeds and types originally bred for farm work, cavalry, and pulling carriages but, in modern times, tuned for sports like jumping, dressage, and eventing. However, at this year's Olympic games, competitors also sat astride Andalusians, Hungarian chargers, and horses registered with Studbook Zangersheide. Get a glimpse of the alphabetic assortment when you check out our slideshow!
Among the Olympic equestrian sports, eventing is undoubtedly the most grueling, putting horse and rider through four days of nerve-wracking competition. Eventing tests competitors in three disciplines — dressage, cross-country, and jumping — and awards medals at both the team and individual levels. These four days of equestrian drama wrapped up yesterday, dominated by the Germans, led by Michael Jung and his horse Sam, who jumped a clean round on Tuesday to win the individual gold and helped their team nab the team gold medal for the second straight Olympics. The home team, Great Britain, snatched the silver due to outstanding performances by Will and Harry's cousin Zara Phillips and Mary King, while New Zealand secured the bronze behind the legendary Mark Todd.
See who topped the eventing standings each day when you check out this slideshow!
I'm jumping for joy about the 2012 Olympic Summer Games beginning on Friday, but what really gets my heart soaring is visions of some amazing equestrian athletes accomplishing great feats when the eventing competition kicks off on Saturday! Among them will be the horses of the US Equestrian Team who sends both four-legged and two-legged competitors to take part in the three Olympic equestrian events: eventing, dressage, and jumping. Check out the horses and riders when you read this slideshow!