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Equestrian

Beijing recap
The U.S. won the gold medal in the jumping competition after a jump-off with Canada. The U.S. riders had zero faults in the jump-off while the Canadians had four faults. Canada's Eric Lamaze had no penalties during his jumping rounds and claimed the individual jumping gold medal. American Beezie Madden took the bronze and Germany's Meredith Michael-Beerbaum silver.

Competition in the three disciplines of Equestrian will take place in Greenwich Park.
Competition in the three disciplines of Equestrian will take place in Greenwich Park.

American Gina Miles won the individual eventing silver, behind Germany's Hinrich Romeike. Germany also won gold in the team eventing competition. The United States placed seventh.

The German dressage team won the gold medal, followed by the Netherlands and Denmark. In individual dressage, Dutchwoman Anky van Grunsven beat her longtime German rival Isabell Werth in a stunning final. Werth's teammate, Heike Kemmer took home bronze. American Steffen Peters placed fourth.

More on Olympic equestrian

Equestrian competition comprises three different disciplines: dressage, jumping and eventing. In each discipline there is both team and individual competition. It is one of three Olympic sports where men and women compete against each other.

Dressage

The French word for "training," dressage is a harmonious demonstration of the horse's three natural gaits (walk, trot and canter) and its ability to respond to the rider's commands as the horse performs a series of movements in prearranged order. Throughout the course the rider directs the horse to perform movements. They are also judged on the trot, canter, pirouette, piaffe and passage. Riders, who must memorize the test in order to guide their horses through it, may not use their voices throughout the competition. Riding whips are also forbidden in the ring, but spurs are required, allowing riders to demonstrate the ability to convey light pressure to the horse. In order to perform well in dressage, the horse must be calm, supple, loose and flexible, but also confident, attentive and keen, showing a perfect understanding with its rider.

Jumping

Referred to as "Grand Prix" or "show" jumping, the object of equestrian's jumping discipline is for the horse and rider to clear every obstacle on the course in a specified time, without tallying any faults.

Eventing

A test of total horsemanship, eventing -- also commonly referred to as the "three-day event," although it extends over four days -- is a competition that combines dressage, cross-country and jumping events. The dressage and jumping phases are competed in the same manner as each event's Olympic competition, but at a less demanding level.

The team and individual events are held at the same time, with a second jumping test to determine the final rankings for the top individual riders. All riders must use the same horse in all phases of the competition. The cross-country event replaces the endurance phase. In what used to be a four-part endurance test, the distances and intensity have been greatly reduced, consisting only of a cross-country test.

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2008 Final Medal Standings

Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
USA 36 38 36 110
CHN 51 21 28 100
RUS 23 21 28 72
GBR 19 13 15 47
AUS 14 15 17 46
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