Equestrianism (from Latin equester, equestr-, horseman, horse) more often known as riding, horseback riding (American English) or horse riding (British English) refers to the skill of riding, driving, or vaulting with horses. Horses are trained and ridden for practical working purposes such as in police work or for controlling herd animals on a ranch. They are also used in competitive sports including, but not limited to, dressage, endurance riding, eventing, reining, show jumping, tent pegging, vaulting, polo, horse racing, driving, and rodeo. Gambling on horse races appears to go hand-in hand with racing and has a long history as well. The history of Equestrian sport dates back over 2000 years to when the Greeks introduced Dressage training to prepare their horses for war. It continued to progress as a military exercise throughout the Middle Ages with the Three Day Event designed to reflect the range of challenges military horses would face.
In 682 BC, a four-horse chariot race was run at Greece’s 25th Olympiad, marking the earliest recorded date in Equestrian history. Equestrian as a competitive sport first began in 1868 at the royal Dublin Horse Show. Enthusiasm for the sport then quickly spread to Europe and North America. By the late 1800s horse shows were regular international events that attracted much notice. Equestrian events were first included in the modern Olympic Games in 1900. both horse and human are declared Olympic medallists! It is also the only Olympic sport where men and women compete in the same event.
Equestrian Summer London Olympics 2012 are scheduled to be held between 28 July and 9 August, at the Greenwich Park venue in London.