Equestrian Preview

This preview reflects info from July 2019. Due to disruptions from COVID-19, and the postponement of the Olympic Games to 2021, these storylines may have changed. For media looking for more recent information, please reach out to the sport’s press officer here

One of the only Olympic sports in which men and women compete against each other, equestrian is an ancient art that has been modernized for today’s Olympic landscape. The sport has three disciplines: dressage, eventing, and jumping.

The United States has qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in jumping and dressage a result of winning team gold and silver, respectively, at the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018. The U.S. eventing team can earn their qualification with a team gold- or silver-medal finish at the Pan American Games Lima 2019.

With the consistency of performance and results achieved by their core athletes combined with the strategy of giving opportunities to developing athletes, the U.S. jumping team has a formidable record of accomplishment on the global stage. Since the World Equestrian Games Normandy 2014, the U.S. jumping team has medaled in every major team championship. The U.S. dressage team has medaled in the last three major team championships, which also includes team gold at the Pan American Games Toronto 2015 and team bronze at the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

Overall, U.S. equestrian athletes have consistently produced top finishes in high-level international competitions, demonstrating the talent and growth of the sport in the U.S. Proven they can compete and deliver outstanding results among the world’s best, the U.S. dressage and jumping teams will use their momentum as a catalyst to reach the podium at Tokyo 2020.

The U.S. has a history of success at the Olympic Games and is tied with Germany for the most all-time Olympic medals. Team USA has earned 52 podium finishes at the Games, with 11 gold, 21 silver, and 20 bronze medals. At Rio 2016, the U.S. had two teams earn podium finishes – a silver in team jumping and a bronze in team dressage – and Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Pa.), riding Mighty Nice, earned bronze in individual eventing.

Madden and Ward Aim for Fifth Games: Elizabeth “Beezie” Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and McLain Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) both look to punch their tickets to their fifth straight Olympic Games, having competed in every Games since Athens 2004. Madden has also earned four Olympic medals and hopes to add a fifth, should she compete in Tokyo. Ward has earned three Olympic medals and is looking for a fourth. 

Dressage Athletes To Watch:

Laura Graves (Geneva, Fla.)
Previously a hairstylist, Graves quit her job to pursue a career in equestrian and has found great success. Graves and her mount Verdades, known as Diddy, have continued to electrify the U.S. dressage scene since their contribution to a team bronze medal in the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Following the Rio Games, Graves and Diddy continued to produce outstanding results, including top placings in the 2017, 2018, and 2019 FEI Dressage World Cup Final competitions, including defeating her rival, Germany’s Isabel Werth, in the FEI Grand Prix in the 2018 FEI Dressage World Cup Final. Their top performances earned them a spot on their second consecutive World Equestrian Games U.S. Dressage Team in 2018, where they contributed to the silver-medal finish and collected individual silver in the Grand Prix Special in 2018.

Adrienne Lyle (Wellington, Fla.)
2012 Olympian Adrienne Lyle has been a valuable member of the U.S. Dressage Team, competing on several Nations Cup teams in the last several years. In 2017, she and Salvino were named the USEF Grand Prix Dressage Reserve National Champions. In 2018, she was selected to her second World Equestrian Games team after competing on all three U.S. Dressage Nations Cup teams, where she helped the U.S. claim team silver while riding Salvino.

Kasey Perry-Glass (Wellington, Fla.)
Kasey-Perry Glass joined the ranks of international elite equestrian athletes in 2016 when she and Goerklintgaards Dublet made their Grand Prix debut on the international circuit. Their breakout second-place finishes at the 2016 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival would earn them the spotlight on the international circuit and a spot on the 2016 Olympic team. A valuable team member, Perry-Glass has competed on several FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ teams over the last several years. In 2017, she and Goerklintgaards Dublet were named the USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Champions. After taking a break from competition in the fall of 2017, Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet made their first appearance of 2018 at the  Global Dressage Festival, where they won the CDI3* Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle to Music. In 2018, Perry-Glass was selected to her first WEG team, contributing to the U.S. Dressage Team’s silver-medal effort.

Jumping Athletes to Watch:

Laura Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.)
For almost three decades, Laura Kraut has represented the U.S. at Olympic Games, World Championships, and in numerous Nations Cup competitions. She made her Olympic Games debut at Sydney 2000 and earned her first team medal as part of the U.S. team at the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany. Kraut has been a member of numerous medal-winning FEI Jumping Nations Cup teams, including a member of the first all-women FEI Jumping Nations Cup CSIO5* Dublin gold-medal winning team and recipient of the Aga Khan Trophy in 2017. Later that year, she was a member of the U.S. jumping team for the FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final, where they earned the silver medal. Kraut was named to her third FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018, where she and Zeremonie helped the U.S. jumping team win gold and secure its qualification for Tokyo 2020.

Elizabeth “Beezie” Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.)
Four-time Olympian and two-time Olympic team gold medalist, Elizabeth “Beezie” Madden has been a mainstay in U.S. jumping for nearly three decades. Following Rio 2016, she helped the U.S. jumping team earn the 2017 FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final silver medal aboard Darry Lou. She added her second FEI Jumping World Cup Final to her resume in with the help of Breitling LS. Madden has represented the U.S. in the world’s most prestigious competitions, becoming the first American to break into the top three in show jumping's world rankings. She was the first woman to pass the $1 million mark in earnings for jumping. Madden has won the USEF Equestrian of the Year title four times, including back-to-back honors in 2006 and 2007 – she was the first rider ever to do so – and then again earning back-to-back honors in 2013 and 2014.

McLain Ward (Brewster, N.Y.)
Ward has been a valuable member of the U.S. jumping team, competing in every major world championship from 2004 up to 2018. Following Rio 2016, at which he contributed to the team silver medal, Ward continued to accumulate impressive results. In 2017, he won his first FEI Jumping World Cup Final title in front of a home crowd with HH Azur. Their hot streak continued, helping the U.S. team earn the silver medal in the 2017 FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final. Ward and Clinta were part of the gold medal-winning team at the World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018. In 2019, he and HH Azur won the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5* during the final week of the Winter Equestrian Festival. In May, Ward and HH Azur won the $250,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*, a feat Ward has accomplished 11 times in his career.

There are 200 quota places available for equestrian at Tokyo 2020. These are divided between disciplines, with 75 available for jumping, 65 for eventing and 60 for dressage. National Olympic Committees can qualify a team of three horse and rider pairs for each discipline, through which the NOC can also receive three entries in individual competition for the discipline. These team spots are earned through competition results. NOCs can also earn an individual place in a discipline, primarily through ranking, should the NOC not qualify a team.

As of one year out from the 2020 Games, the U.S. has earned team entries and three individual entries in both dressage and jumping. The U.S. eventing team can earn their qualification with a team gold- or silver-medal finish at the Pan American Games Lima 2019. 

The dressage selection procedures will be published in the fall of 2019.

Eventing has listed the events listed here as the USEF Selection Trials for the 2020 Olympic Games. The eventing selection procedures will be published at a later date.

The planned jumping selection methods aim to name 10 athletes to the 2020 Olympic Games U.S Jumping Short List in April 2020 according to the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking Lists, 2020 FEI Jumping World Cup Final results, and discretionary selection. Team selection of three athletes and three horses and one alternate athlete and/or reserve horse is planned to follow CSIO5*/CSI5* events from May 1–June 23, 2020. The final selection procedures will be published in the fall of 2019.

  • May 23-Oct. 13, 2019: 2019 FEI Eventing Nations Cup
  • July 26-Aug. 11, 2019: Pan American Games Lima 2019
  • Aug. 12-13, 2019: Group G jumping qualification event (Valkenswaard, Netherlands)
  • Oct. 3-6, 2019: 2019 FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final ( Barcelona, Spain)
  • Oct. 10-13, 2019: Group F jumping qualification event (Rabat, Morocco)
  • TBD, 2019: Group F dressage qualification event
  • Dec. 31, 2019: End of FEI ranking period