Arguably the best known of the equestrian disciplines, jumping (sometimes called show jumping) features highly technical courses with a series of obstacles that vary in height and width, including water jumps, simulated stone walls, parallel rails and triple bars. For each obstacle that is hit or that a horse refuses to jump, a penalty of four faults is assessed. Riders must complete the course in a set time or receive one fault per second they go over. Riders want to finish with as few faults as possible.
The individual and team events are run concurrently. The results from the two tests in the team event also count towards qualification for the individual finals. After the team results are official, there are two final rounds for the individual competition. If there are any ties in either the individual or team events, they are broken by a jump-off.
Canada’s Olympic History (Pre-Rio 2016)
Two of Canada’s four Olympic jumping medals were won at Beijing 2008. Eric Lamaze became the first Canadian equestrian to win individual Olympic gold when he defeated Sweden’s Rolf-Göran Bengtsson in a jump-off. That came after he had joined with Ian Millar, Jill Henselwood and Mac Cone to win silver in the team event. That put Millar on an Olympic podium for the first time at age 61 in his ninth Olympic appearance. Millar went on to set an all-time Olympic record with his 10th appearance at London 2012.
Canada’s first Olympic equestrian gold medal was won in team jumping at Mexico City 1968, by the trio of James Elder, James Day and Thomas Gayford. That was Elder’s second career Olympic medal, having won bronze in team eventing in 1956. Michel Vaillancourt was Canada’s first individual Olympic equestrian medallist with his silver at Montreal 1976.