Tokyo Olympics: Equestrian

  • 01/01/2021

Contested over three disciplines - dressage, show jumping and eventing - equestrian dates back to Paris 1900, where events included polo.

Dressage has been compared to ballet on horseback, jumping sees rider and mount negotiate an enclosed course of fences, while eventing is an all-round test of dressage, jumping and cross country.

Over the years, medals have been spread fairly equitably among Germany, Sweden, France, United States and Great Britain, with German Michael Jung taking out eventing gold at the last two Games.

But New Zealand can also claim its share of Olympic pedigree, with three golds and nine medals altogether.

Mark Todd has accounted for two of those Olympic crowns, winning the individual eventing title at Los Angeles 1984 and defending it four years later at Seoul.

Rival and teammate Blyth Tait brought the eventing gold back to New Zealand at Atlanta 1996, and the pair have also contributed to the NZ team success over the past 40 years.

Tokyo will mark the first Games over that period that neither Todd nor Tait will feature. Instead, our medal chances rest with husband-and-wife combo Tim and Jonelle Price, ranked second and seventh in the world respectively.

The showjumping team will feature Bruce Goodin in his fifth Olympics, after debuting at Barcelona 1992.

NZ Team


Jesse Campbell - individual & team

Jonelle Price - individual & team

Tim Price -  individual & team


Bruce Goodin - individual & team 

Daniel Meech - individual & team 

Sharn Woodley - individual & team 

Five to Watch

Isabell Werth (Germany)

Werth, who will turn 52 just before the Tokyo Games, became equestrian's most decorated athlete at the 2016 Olympic Games, when she won her fifth team dressage gold.

She won individual dressage gold at Atlanta 1996 and owns four Olympic silver medals. Tokyo will be her sixth Games.

In her free time, Werth enjoys watching Formula One and supports German football team Schalke.

Charlotte Dujardin (Britain)

Dujardin will compete with horse Mount St John Freestyle - replacing legendary horse Valegro, which retired after the 2016 Olympics. At Rio, the British rider and Valegro topped an all-female podium in dressage to take gold, a repeat of their victory at London 2012.

She wears a helmet rather than a top hat when she competes in dressage, after fracturing her skull in an accident in 2009. She has also publicly spoken about her struggle with depression.

Michael Jung (Germany)

Jung will give new horse Chipmunk an Olympic outing, looking to add to his individual eventing golds from the previous two Games. In 2010 and 2014, he won gold medals at the World Equestrian Games.

He is the first eventing rider to hold top titles from the Olympic, world and European competitions at the same time.

Israeli showjumper Dani Waldman
Israeli showjumper Dani Waldman. Photo credit: Getty

Mathilda Karlsson (Sri Lanka)

Born in Sri Lanka and adopted by a Swedish couple, Karlsson will become the first equestrian at any Olympic Games representing the South Asian island nation, competing as an individual jumper.

She almost missed out on Tokyo, after the equestrian federation found an error in the way points towards her qualification were submitted and annulled her results. She appealed the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and was cleared to compete.

Dani Waldman (Israel)

Waldman, 36, will ride as a member of Israel's first-ever equestrian Olympic team. She is known to break fashion boundaries in the sport with her trademark mane styled out of dozens of colourful feathers braided into her hair.

She has also been known to trade the traditional riding trousers and blazer for yoga pants and a sports bra.