10 Olympic equestrian medalists
Equestrian sports are rooted in cavalry skills, classical horsemanship and usually only military personnel could take part in the games, only if they rode on army trained horses. Even though they are among the contested Olympic sports, they are particularly popular, and people usually enjoy watching them, being impressed by the skills shown both by riders and horses alike and also by the beauty of the horses. Some of the most well-known medalists are listed below.
The current fan favorite, Charlotte Dujardin won two gold medals in the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympic Games, setting some new Olympic records in the process. Together with her horse, named Valegro, she was among those selected to represent Great Britain at the 2012 Games, setting a new record in the first round. In the same event, she won the gold medal in individual dressage.
The rider/horse pair also won double individual gold medals in 2016 at the Rio Olympic Games, setting a new Olympic score record in the Freestyle category. It is then that she became engaged to Dean Golding, and in the same year, she decided to retire Valegro at the age of 14. Charlotte Dujardin intends to take part in the 2020 Summer Olympics as well.
Anky van Grunsven
The Dutch dressage champion is the only one who scored three successive Olympic wins, and she currently owns three gold medals, received for her performance in 2000, 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
She started training in dressage at the age of 12 and was present at almost all major competitions from 1995 until 2012. Another important fact about her is the attending of no less than seven Olympics in dressage, a performance that can hardly be outscored. She is the owner of a line of equestrian clothing, and has taken part in freestyle dressage events as well as being a part of a specialized team.
A German world champion in dressage, Isabell Werth competed in 5 different Summer Olympic Games, always entering the podium. Currently, the rider is the most successful equestrian athlete of all time, owning the most medals.
She entered the podium not only as an individual competitor but also with her team. Besides from taking part in the Olympic Games, she has also participated in a huge number of other important events, being active since 1989 and winning almost all competitions.
Michael Jung is an equestrian athlete who is known for competing in eventing, a branch of riding that involves only individual horse/rider pairs who compete in three challenges (dressage, cross-country, show jumping) against each other.
Being the son of a former dressage competitor, Michael Jung entered the sport with high hopes, winning a number of gold medals not only in Olympic Games but also in other championships. He is the second person in history who has ever won the Rolex Grand Slam, making him an important name in the sport.
One of the riders with most documented participation in horse riding events, the British sportsman Nick Skelton used to compete in show jumping, prior to his retirement in 2017.
He has competed at the European Show Jumping Championships and won the Olympic gold medal in 2012 with the team chosen to represent Great Britain. His individual gold medal was won at his seventh time in the Olympic Games, in 2016, when he was 58 years old.
Since 1975 when he started a professional career in jumping, he has won a great number of competitions, championships, and other events, and is the holder of the British Show Jumping record for the highest jump, setting it at 2.32 meters with his horse Lastic in 1978.
Perhaps the oldest athlete on our list, Sir Mark James Todd comes from New Zealand and is known for his performance in eventing. He was voted as the best rider of the 20th Century by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports, a title that surely indicates his skills and results.
The sportsman has taken part in seven Olympic Games, winning the gold medal in the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games, and many other world championships and regional competitions. Even though he retired, in 2008 he announced his comeback, and the last major event he attended was the 2016 Games held in Rio de Janeiro.
What is striking about this German equestrian is the percentage of gold medals won in many competitions; she has almost never lost an event, and her reward consists of four Olympic gold medals, obtained either as an individual or with a team. She competes in dressage and is known for the speed with which she rose to international fame.
Riding Rembrandt, the horse that helped her secure the significant wins in her career, she first competed in 1988 in the Seoul Olympic Games where she came out in the first place.
The Swiss equestrian competes in show jumping and is the 2012 Olympic Champion in individual jumping. Even though he is pretty young, he has secured some significant wins in major competitions across the globe.
His career started in 2008 when he secured the bronze medal; in 2009 and 2011 he was regarded as the most important Swiss rider in those years and was the only rider who jumped cleanly in the final rounds of the 2012 London Summer Games. His latest achievements are winning the World Cup in 2015 and 2016.
Taking part in eventing competitions, the British equestrian won the individual gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games. He started training at a young age and was a respected competitor even as far back as 1989 when he placed 8th at the Badminton Horse Trials.
His greatest success was at the 2004 Olympics, where he earned a gold and a silver medal for his performance in eventing. Throughout his career, he won 3 other gold medals in European Championships and a bronze in World Championships.
Born in Canada in 1968, Eric Lamaze is a member of the Canadian Equestrian Team and competes in show jumping. Together with his horse Hickstead, he managed to have only one rail fall during the entire Olympic Games, a feat that gained him popularity in the field.
His first ascent on the podium was in the 1999 Pan American Games, and his latest performance was the bronze medal obtained during the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. He obtained two different medals in 2008 edition, an individual gold and a silver medal, which he shared with his team.