Trail to Tokyo: What You Need to Know About U.S. Team Selection for the 2020 Olympic Games

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

The eventing selection procedures for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are approved and available on the US Equestrian website. If you’re applying, click here to read the document in full — no shortcuts for you! You’ll also want to bookmark the site’s dedicated Tokyo 2020 Eventing Page, which will be updated with relevant information in coming months.

For the rest of us, here’s a need-to-know overview.


Olympic applications may be downloaded here. The application deadline is Feb. 14, 2020. After submission, applicants will receive details for completing the USOPC registration process, which has an estimated deadline of Feb. 21, 2020.

The team will be announced no later than June 1, 2020. Three combinations will be named to the team, as well as a traveling reserve and list of alternates. The selectors can name direct reserve horses for team riders. A direct reserve horse would be an automatic replacement if the original horse has to be substituted. The USOPC deadline for final entries is June 8, 2020.

The eventing portion of the Games will take place July 31-Aug. 3, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.


The following competitions have been confirmed as selection trials for the U.S. team:


  • Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event Event (USA) – CCI5*-L – April 24-29
  • Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) – CCI5*-L – May 1-5
  • Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event (USA) – CCI4*-L – May 8-12
  • Tattersalls International Horse Trials (IRE) – CCI4*-L – May 29-31
  • Bromont CCI Three-Day Event (CAN) – CCI4*-L – June 6-9
  • Longines Luhmühlen Horse Trials (GER) – CCI5*-L – June 13-16
  • CHIO Aachen (GER) – CCI4*-S – July 18-20
  • The Event at Rebecca Farm (USA) – CCI4*-L – July 25-28
  • Millstreet International Horse Trials (IRE) – CCI4*-L – Aug. 22-25
  • Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) – CCI5*-L – Sept. 5-8
  • Military Boekelo – Enschede (NED) – CCI4*-L – Oct. 10-13
  • The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International (USA) – CCI4*-L – Oct. 16-20
  • Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event (USA) – CCI4*-L – Nov. 13-17


  • Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA) – CCI5*-L – April 24-29
  • Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) – CCI5*-L – May 6-10
  • Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event (USA) – CCI4*-L – May 8-12

Additional competitions may be identified as Selection Trials should it become necessary and where practical.

All combinations wishing to compete on the Team must earn a FEI Certificate of Capability between Jan. 1, 2019 and June 2, 2020 at a CCI5*-L, or one CCI4*-S AND one CCI4*-L.


Combinations will be chosen for the team based on the following factors (in no particular order):

  • The overall performance and soundness of the combination in those 2019/2020 competitions designated as selection trials with emphasis on dressage scores, current fitness, cross country, and show jumping performance: jumping without faults and/or incurring time penalties, boldness, rideability, and speed.
  • Additional international experience of the athlete/horse combination; preference may be given to combinations who have demonstrated ability to succeed in multiple international eventing competitions.
  • The rider’s fitness.
  • The combination’s suitability to win an individual medal or contribute to a team medal at the Olympic Games.
  • The willingness of the athlete to work within the confines of Olympic accreditation allocation and restrictions.
  • The behavior of the rider and people associated with the rider (including, without limitation, owners, coaches, and grooms) that may have an impact on creating a positive team environment. Riders will be informed of any concerns regarding behavior.

The selectors are Robert Costello (chair), Jonathan Elliott, Jan Byyny, Debbie Furnas and Phyllis Dawson.


All of the combinations named to the team and reserves will be required to “demonstrate their continued preparation, soundness, and ability” by competing at a preparation event or multiple events. Details regarding the preparation event(s) will be released no later than May 15, 2020. At present it is anticipated that the preparation event(s) will be a CCI4*-S, an Advanced horse trial(s), or Advanced combined test(s) to be held after June 1, 2020.

All team and reserve combinations may be required to participate in mandatory training, except as explained below. At present it is envisioned that the mandatory training will be held sometime after July 1, 2020 in the U.S. potentially in conjunction with pre-export quarantine.

In exceptional circumstances, the selectors may grant a waiver for all or part of the requirements if it is in the perceived best interests of the results of the team.

USEF Links: Tokyo 2020 Eventing PageAthlete MemoSelection Procedures

FEI Links: Tokyo 2020 WebsiteTimetableOlympic Format Rules

Keep it locked on EN for all the latest news on the trail to Tokyo. Go Eventing!