Most of us do not consider Pentathalon a "real equestrian sport
or art". After all, these riders most often don't even qualify as "weekenders"--all they want to do is to
learn to ride enough to ride a horse over 20 jumps clear maximum in about 2 minutes. (exception noted of those
that might actually have some equestrian background).
Mostly, they deserve credit because they are given no schooling time on the horses except for
the 20 minutes just before they go into the ring for the equestrian portion of the competition--and are limited to 6 fences.
As anyone that has competed in disciplines that you "switch horses" with other
riders as the final test can tell you, this can be a very difficult maneuver, depending on the horse you draw.
SPORTSPERSONSHIP AWARDS--one rider had a horse that just quit after a few jumps, refusing every
jump attempted thereafter.
The competitor withdrew...saving the horse from any potential wear
and tear and stress, and gamely acknowledging the horse just was probably going to continue to refuse.
Whether it cost him a medal or not, it was very much in the spirit what
the Olympics are supposed to be.
And any of us that have taught jumping know that often a horse just
senses something from a rider and stopping saves the rider, as well as the horse.
Whether that was the reason or not, the go certainly was handled well.
Another rider had a horse that just looked like he had not been warmed up enough--in addition
to being quite strong, he bucked continually after the jumps. He finally bucked his rider off.
The rider gamely got back on and finished the course.
This could have been rider error, or the horse not used to how the rider
rode, however does bring up the uncertainty of this phase of the pentathalon...luck of the draw.
The Women's Pentathalon was just started this year, and it was a huge success.