at the Games of the XX Olympiad
VenueRiding Facility
Nymphenburg Palace
Dates28 August – 11 September
No. of events6
Competitors179 from 27 nations
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The equestrian events at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich included show jumping, dressage and eventing. All three disciplines had both individual and team competitions. The equestrian competitions were held at 3 sites: an existing equestrian facility at Riem for the individual show jumping and eventing competitions, the Olympic Stadium in Munich for the Nations Cup, and Nymphenburg, a Baroque palace garden, for the sold-out dressage. 179 entries, including 31 women, competed from 27 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, German Democratic Republic (GDR), France, Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the USA. The youngest participant was Kurt Maeder from Switzerland at 19 years old, while the oldest rider was Lorna Johnstone from Great Britain at 70 years old.[1]

An outbreak of Venezuelan equine encephalitis broke out in Mexico before the Games, so the Mexican horses were not permitted into the host country. The IOC and FEI agreed to allow the Mexicans to lease horses in Germany for the show jumping and eventing competitions so that they may still compete. While this allowed the riders to attend the Olympics, the Mexicans had dismal results, including all four of the eventers being eliminated on cross-country.

The disciplines

Show jumping

74 riders from a total of 21 countries contested Hans-Heinrish Brinckmann's Olympic courses. The individual competition was held over two rounds. The course of the first round consisted of 14 obstacles and 17 jumping efforts over a 760-meter track, with several difficult individual fences. This included a 5-meter water, which produced 33 faults in the first round, and several massive oxers (four at 2 meters wide and a fifth at 2.10 meters) which all combined produced another 20 faults. Only 3 riders were able to produce a clear round, and 8 finished with only a knockdown. The second round was a 660-meter track with 10 obstacles and 13 jumping efforts. One rider who went clear in the first round was not in contention after the second. The two other clear rounds from the first course—Graziano Mancinelli and Ann Moore—had 2 rails apiece in the second for 8 faults. Neal Shapiro, one of the eight 4-faulters in round 1, finished the second round with only one rail so also finished both rounds with 8 faults. Therefore, a jump-off between the 3 riders decided who was to take home gold, silver, and bronze. Mancinelli managed a clear for the gold, followed by Moore who had three faults for silver, and then Shapiro who had two knock downs.[2]

The Nations Cup was held in the Olympic Stadium, so horses were shipped out of Riem at 3:15 am to tent stabling nearby. Unlike the gold and silver medal winners, Shapiro managed another great performance for his team, finishing with 8.25 faults in round 1 and no faults in the second round, helping the USA finish with team silver.


The 1972 Olympics saw great changes for dressage. First, the individual medals were only awarded based on the results of the ride-off, with the Grand Prix serving as a qualifying round for the ride-off, whereas before the scores from the Grand Prix and ride-off were added together to determine the winner. The judging also changed drastically. 5 judges, instead of three, were on the panel, and two of the five were (for the first time) placed on the long side rather than having the entire panel sitting on the short side at C. Unlike recent decades where, due to accusations of unfair judging, judges were to be from non-competing countries, the 1972 Games allowed judges to be selected from countries competing in the Games and therefore to judge their own countrymen. The scores of all five judges were to count into the final score, rather than dropping the highest and lowest produced by the panel. Unfortunately this change in judging did not eliminate all problems. When the horse of French rider Patrick Le Rolland was lame during his test, Gustaf Nyblæus (the judge at C) did not ring him out. Additionally, while four of the judges deducted points for the lameness to put him somewhere between 20th to 29th place, the inexperienced Mexican judge had him finishing in 7th place.

More than 30 riders from 13 countries, who made up 10 full teams and a few individuals, competed at the Nymphenburg site. Despite this being the first time it was used for a competition, the palace garden proved to be a great success. However, there was a good deal of work performed to prepare it, including adding additional footing (80 cm of gravel, followed by 4 cm of cinder and clay, then 6 cm of a sand/wood shaving mix) to the already existing gravel of the park. Liselotte Linsenhoff won gold on Piaffe, making her the first woman to win individual gold in the equestrian events.[3]

Dressage again showed the great age range possible in Olympic mounts, with 3 horses (Sod, Casanova, and San Fernando) at 17 years of age, and 1 horse (Granat) competing at age 7—who would return at the following Olympics at age 11 and win gold. 12 of the 33 mounts competing were 14 or older.


A crowd of 60,000 spectators watched 73 riders from 19 nations competing on endurance day. The Roads and Tracks phases (Phase A and C) were held on flat ground. The cross-country test, designed by Ottokar Pohlmann, saw quite a few problems. Four fences in particular proved the most troublesome—producing a total of 38 refusals, 18 falls, and 7 eliminations—included a fence into the water (obstacle 12), a drop fence in a combination (obstacle 17a), a palisade up a hill (obstacle 18), and a ditch (obstacle 23).

The German team, despite the elimination of one of their top rider, Horst Karsten and Sioux, still managed to finish with a bronze medal, behind Great Britain (gold) and the USA (silver). The gold-winning British team included 2 women, with a third woman competing on the Canadian team. 48 of the 73 horses completed the competition, including a 5-year-old on the Argentinean team who finished next to last. 29 of the finishing horses were 8 years old or younger.[4]

Medal summary

Games Gold Silver Bronze
Individual dressage
 Liselott Linsenhoff
on Piaff (FRG)
 Yelena Petushkova
on Pepel (URS)
 Josef Neckermann
on Venetia (FRG)
Team dressage
 Soviet Union (URS)
Yelena Petushkova
and Pepel
Ivan Kizimov
and Ikhor
Ivan Kalita
and Tarif
 West Germany (FRG)
Karin Schlüter
and Liostro
Liselott Linsenhoff
and Piaff
Josef Neckermann
and Venetia
 Sweden (SWE)
Ulla Håkansson
and Ajax
Ninna Swaab
and Casanova
Maud von Rosen
and Lucky Boy
Individual eventing
 Richard Meade
on Laurieston (GBR)
 Alessandro Argenton
on Woodland (ITA)
 Jan Jönsson
on Sarajevo (SWE)
Team eventing
 Great Britain (GBR)
Richard Meade
and Laurieston
Mary Gordon-Watson
and Cornishman V
Bridget Parker
and Cornish Gold
Mark Phillips
and Great Ovation
 United States (USA)
Kevin Freeman
and Good Mixture
Bruce Davidson
and Plain Sailing
Michael Plumb
and Free and Easy
James C. Wofford
and Kilkenny
 West Germany (FRG)
Harry Klugmann
and Christopher Robert
Ludwig Gössing
and Chicago
Karl Schultz
and Pisco
Horst Karsten
and Sioux
Individual jumping
 Graziano Mancinelli
on Ambassador (ITA)
 Ann Moore
on Psalm (GBR)
 Neal Shapiro
on Sloopy (USA)
Team jumping
 West Germany (FRG)
Fritz Ligges
and Robin
Gerhard Wiltfang
and Askan
Hartwig Steenken
and Simona
Hans Günter Winkler
and Trophy
 United States (USA)
William Steinkraus
and Main Spring
Neal Shapiro
and Sloopy
Kathryn Kusner
and Fleet Apple
Frank Chapot
and White Lightning
 Italy (ITA)
Vittorio Orlandi
and Fulmer Feather
Raimondo D'Inzeo
and Fiorello
Graziano Mancinelli
and Ambassador
Piero D'Inzeo
and Easter Light

Medal table

1 West Germany (FRG)2125
2 Great Britain (GBR)2103
3 Italy (ITA)1113
4 Soviet Union (URS)1102
5 United States (USA)0213
6 Sweden (SWE)0022
Totals (6 nations)66618


  1. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Equestrianism at the 1972 Munich Equestrian Games". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  2. ^ Equestrianism at the 1972 München Summer Games: Mixed Jumping, Individual. sports-reference.com
  3. ^ Equestrianism at the 1972 München Summer Games: Mixed Dressage, Individual. sports-reference.com
  4. ^ Equestrianism at the 1972 München Summer Games: Mixed Three-Day Event, Team. sports-reference.com