There has been so much Thoroughbred news lately that we didn’t want to miss this massive headline about the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. For the first time in an equestrian competition in the Olympic Games, thoroughbreds will be a recognized breed. In past years, retired thoroughbred racehorses have only been listed as “breed unknown” at the Olympics, but that all changes next year.

Retired Racehorses and Second Careers

We’ve shared our success stories right here on the horseOlogy page. Many retired thoroughbred racehorses go on to second careers in sport horse disciplines, which means they have a shot at the Olympics.

Previously, those horses were recognized as Olympic athletes, but they weren’t correctly classified during the games. Allowing these competitors to be labeled as Thoroughbreds rather than Unknown will showcase these incredible athletes’ versatility.

Thoroughbreds on the World Stage

While horseracing happens all around the world, not everyone watches the sport. But the Summer Olympics takes center stage every four years. The games generally have a global audience of over 3 billion people, and that’s a lot of eyes. Of course, not everyone watches every sport, and if you were horse girls like us, you might have only tuned in for dressage, eventing, and jumping competitions. Thoroughbreds can participate in any of these competitions.

Olympic Equestrian Events

So what exactly are the three equestrian events in the Olympics?

  • Dressage: Dressage is a discipline that showcases the harmony and precision between horse and rider. Competitors perform a series of predetermined movements, known as “figures,” demonstrating the horse’s obedience, suppleness, and athleticism. Dressage emphasizes the horse’s ability to respond to subtle cues from the rider and execute movements with grace and elegance.
  • Eventing: Eventing combines three phases: dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. It’s like a horse triathlon. It tests the versatility and skill of both horse and rider across different disciplines. The dressage phase evaluates the horse’s obedience and precision, while the cross-country phase challenges their endurance, agility, and bravery over a varied and challenging cross-country course. The final phase, show jumping, focuses on the horse’s athleticism and ability to clear a course of show jumps without knocking down any rails.
  • Jumping: Jumping, or show jumping, is a discipline where a horse and rider navigate a course of brightly colored fences and obstacles. The objective is to clear the obstacles within the allotted time, with penalties incurred for knockdowns, refusals, or exceeding the time limit. Jumping requires the horse to be agile, responsive, and make quick decisions while maintaining a controlled and balanced rhythm.

Watch the Paris Olympics in Summer 2024

We will watch these incredible animals competing in the Paris Summer Olympics next year. The Olympic games will occur in France from July 26th to August 11th, 2024. The Equestrian events will be showcased at the historic Palace of Versailles. This palatial estate built by King Louis XIV is just twelve miles west of Paris. The estate was created as a hunting lodge in 1623 and is now owned by the French Republic and managed by the French Ministry of Culture. We cannot wait to see these horses compete in an area so historically significant.

Are you as excited about thoroughbreds being recognized in the Olympics as we are?

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