Following a meeting of the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board, held October 12–13 in Mumbai, India, it has been confirmed that equestrian sports (dressage, showjumping, and eventing) will feature as part of the programme at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics — a welcome, and long-awaited, bit of news to horsey folks around the world.
“We are delighted with the IOC’s announcement that the equestrian disciplines at competition at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be on the Los Angeles 2028 sports programme,” FEI president Ingmar De Vos says. “Equestrian has been part of the Olympics since 1912, and with such a strong heritage and enthusiasm for the sport in the US, we are looking forward to delivering successful and engaging Games, focussed on the future and the values which make it unique in the sporting landscape.
“This is only the beginning. Venue confirmation in the coming months and quotas for LA2028, which will be decided after Paris 2024, will be our next big milestones in the lead up to these Games. We are actively pursuing all avenues and making sure we have our finger on the pulse, as we look towards not only LA28 but also Paris24 which is just around the corner!”
Only Modern Pentathlon will be denied the chance to ride horses in Los Angeles; following controversy in Tokyo, the sport has been provisionally left off the LA programme, but will be reinstated, as recommended by the IOC Executive Board, if the horse riding phase is replaced by obstacle racing.
The announcement of the inclusion of equestrian sports might feel a bit like deja vu — and no, you’re not imagining that you’ve read it all before. Equestrian sports were confirmed as being among the initial proposed sports early in 2022, which was a positive first step towards inclusion in the Games themselves, but the equestrian disciplines were required to reach ‘universality, integrity and fairness, gender equality and popularity’ criteria in order to gain the final nod. This criteria fulfilment saw IOC President Thomas Bach visit last year’s FEI Eventing World Championships in Pratoni to evaluate the sport’s suitability.
We also reported last year on some early teasers released about potential venues in Los Angeles, all of which are currently going through the bidding and confirmation process. For now, it looks very much as though we’ll be Keeping Up With The K-equestrians in the North Valley area, so work on that vocal fry and get those salads shaken, baby.