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2008 Olympics in China--AUGUST 2008

Officially, the 2008 Olympics location was Beijing, China
The Equestrian Venue was in Hong Kong.
This was due to certain quarantine restrictions in the primary area of China.
Hong Kong was a British colony since the 1800's that was eventually under self-rule with supervision, and then was ceded to China in the 1990's.
The China Olympic Federation, which currently has jurisdiction over Hong Kong,  allowed a rider from Hong Kong, and entered as a Hong Kong representative, to compete.
Hong Kong is a beautiful city that is very cosmopolitan, ie "global"--or was when I visited many years ago.
One benefit to equestrians is that there are (or used to be) incredible tailors and boot makers, using top quality materials and leathers, that custom-make show coats and boots at very reasonable prices.
From what I saw on Internet and  TV, the venues were top notch.
An incredible dressage venue with a stadium and schooling area, a cross country course that would rank among the best as a test of horse and rider, and a top show jumping course by top course designers.
For background on the preperation for the venues, see>2008 Olympics
NOTE: This page is continuing to be updated and additional rulings, etc. added

Results of the 2008 Equestrian Olympics
DRESSAGE: Team: Germany, Netherlands, Denmark
Individual: Anky van Grunsven/Salinero (NED); Isabell Werth/Satchmo (GER); Heike Kemmer/Bonaparte (GER).
EVENTING: Team: Germany, Australia, Great Britain
Individual: Hinrich Romeike/Marius (GER); Gina Miles/McKinlaigh (USA); Kristin Cook/Miners Frolic(GBR)
SHOW JUMPING: Team: United States, Canada, Norway (see below for info on inquiry regarding drug use--particularly, Fourth was Switzerland
Individual: Eric Lamaze/Hickstead (CAN); Rolf-Goran Bengtsson/Ninja (SWE); Beezie Madden/Authentic (USA)

Commentary and On-Site Reporting of the 2008 summer competitions include the following:

Go to search for video by sport, select Equestrian, and all of the available videos should be presented.
You do have to have broadband that supports legal access to NBC (all of them that I know of are), and then have to download the Microsoft Media program Silverlight, which seems to be working fine.
You will be asked information on the above when you first try to access the archived videos, and then to download the MS media sofware that just takes a few minutes.

SHOW JUMPING: Eric Lamaze on Hickstead wins Canadas first Olympic Individual Gold
DRESSAGE: Anky Van Grunsven wins an unprecedented third Olympic gold medal on Salinero, with whom she won the World Cup earlier this year too.
DRESSAGE TEAM: Germany and Netherlands continue their rivalry, with the Germany Team winning Gold this time.  Denmark an elegant third with the USA going fourth.
SHOW JUMPING: Canada wins its first team medal in many years (Silver) with a team that included the esteemed Ian Miller, participating in his sixth Olympic games.
SHOW JUMPING: Beezies Maddens final jump-off ride for the Individual Bronze was innovative and decisive. She and McClain Ward, the other American finalist, decided to take a short cut "over the arena decorations" in order to save on time. At first, the strategy looked like they were off course, however it was ruled legal.  While Ward had the last fence down, Madden made it clear--by just .25 seconds beating out Michelle Michaels-Beerbaum of Germany (formerly of California, USA)
EVENTING: the top-notch cross country course was built on a golf course.  Sand traps were added terrain, and lakes used for the water jumps.  The course was tight and handy--a real test yet safe and fair. Beautiful layout and worth a look--see it at
DRESSAGE: Japan's rider was the oldest competitor at the Olympics--age 67.
NEW TEAMS: China fielded equestrian teams for the first time this year.

The "blow up" of Germany's Isabell Werths Satchmo in the piaffe--twice, once in team and once in individual Dressage competition.
See commentary at:
(includes slow motion pix of the problem on the home page, as well as commentary that includes a press briefing with one of the judges explaining his decision-making process that enabled them to win Silver medal anyway.)
Further commentaries listed below.
According to NBC TV, several horses were eliminated from the Show Jumping Individual Finals due to doping issues--use of illegal drugs on the horses.
According to the Federation Equestre Internationale (, the vet horse care site at www.the,  and theUnited States Equestrian Federation (  websites, the four riders provisionally suspended are: Bernado Alves (BRA) on Chupa Chup; Christian Ahlmann (GER) on Coster; Dennis Lynch (IRL) on Lutinius; and Tony Andre Hansen (NOR) on Camiro.
All horses were found to have the drug CAPSAICIN in their blood tests.
Capsaicin is a "doping/prohibited substance given its hypersensitiving properties and is a medication Class A prohibited substance for its pain relieving properties".  This finding prevented them from competing in the Individual Show Jumping Finals.
According to FEI rules, riders/horses are provisionally suspended with further hearings to be held on the matter.
One of the disqualifications was an individual rider from Norway, which may jeopardize the Team bronze medal that they won.
This is an ongoing investigation at this time.
Further info at
(The Federation Equestriane Internationale, which is the governing body of all International Equestrian Competition).
According to informaiton on the FEI site, the timeline for the investigation is that a hearing is to be held Sept. 8, 2008, and then a final decision to be made in the first week of October.
Switzerland would advance to bronze if the Norway team is eliminated.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: on the site, click on to :"Clarification on the precedures to be followed in relation to the positive/doping medication cases at the 2008 Olympics" in the left hand column.
This provides the timeline for the investigation, as well as the info that after positive tests are received from Test A, Test B is given, etc.
Is a superb vet info website that provides the same information, and perhaps some more in depth.
Click on search for article # 12550
Other resources:

The following are some of the commentaries, reports, opinions that I have found insightful, informative and interesting:
RE: the Isabell Werth/Satchmo blow up in the Grand Prix Dressage Freestyle and Individual
Click on to:
 Karen Robinsons report titled
"Highs, Lows and Raised Eyebrows"
Diana DeRosas reports--esp
"When Brilliance is Marred by One Mistake"
The home page has an excellent slow motion of the problem.
Can be seen on replays too.
NOTE: this "blow up" was incredibly unusual and unexpected for such a high level International, proven competitor and horse.
These commentaries reflect the respect deserved to Isabell Werth for all of her accomplishments, and one even said that she seemed a little embarassed by the silver Individual medal.
RE: The Doping/Illegal drug use issue
The Federation Equestre International is the governing body for all International competition, including the Olympics and has the final say in any disputes at this level.
They do have information on this issue at their website, as well as the procedures for resolving such.
A final determination is set for the first week of October, 2008.
Home page has information on the "week in review" that if clicked on includes the reports on the doping investigation at this point (August 26, 2008).

Probably the top disappointment for the USA teams is the performance of former Dressage Olympic Team Bronze Medal winner Debbie McDonald and Bretina.
Their 64% score did not match the other two team members over 70% scores, and thus they lost the Bronze team medal in this Olympics.
Debbie McDonald acknowledged the problems in her blog at, and even apologized for it. Tho defended the 17yo Hanoverian mare as being sound and just spooking.
See the blog and info above.
A big disappointment for the US Eventing Team was that Amy Taurig on her "rescued" horse fell on the cross country course and thus was eliminated from the competition.
New Rule: a fall results in elimination
China's first Eventing rider fell on the cross country course and was eliminated.
Isabell Werth and Satchmo totally blow their piaffe-twice--see above.
That 4 resulted in a Gold and Silver in judging.
This was a severe disobedience and non-performance of a high level movement in one of the top competitions that happens only every four years. Did the scores reflect that?
Dressage is judged on each movement individually.
At the same time, this was extreme.

The Doping problem in Show Jumping--see controversies above.
This is as of yet unresolved, tho the Individuals noted were not able to compete in the Individual Show Jumping Finals.

OVERALL--The Olympics were a tremendous success, and certainly a boom to China.
The Equestrian venues were ideal, with a lot of time and effort put into them.

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site copyright ler 2004