- 18nations (Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, German Democratic Republic (GDR) , France, Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Soviet Union, Switzerland, USA)
- 126 entries (51 in Jumping; 26 in Dressage; 49 in Eventing)
- The equestrian competitions were timed manually and electronically; for the first time, the electronic time was the official one.
Jumping (51 riders from 16 countries)
Dressage (26 riders from 9 nations)
Eventing (49 riders from 13 nations)
The victory of Canada in their first Olympic appearance, the crowning of Bill Steinkraus’ glorious career and a bizarre incident involving the Irish team highlighted the Jumping competitions.
The Irish incident happened after their first rider, Diana Conolly-Carew, was eliminated. By some misunderstanding the message was brought to the Irish chef de’équipe that the whole team had been eliminated. Thus Ada Matheson’s horse went back to the stable and was not at the ingate when she was called. Ned Campion, the third Irish rider, was later ready and allowed to jump the course. But with only three riders to a team Ireland was eliminated. This was all the more annoying since the Irish had decided to forego the individual competition and concentrate on the team.
The three courses of the individual competition measured as follows: A: 750m / B: 410m; jump-off: 370m. Round B was a puissance-type course with an oxer 1.65 / 1.70m x 2.20m as the major obstacle. There were 10,000 spectators.
The course for the team competition was measured at 631m with 14 obstacle necessitating 17 jumping efforts. But only four of the 87 rounds were inside the time of 96 seconds. It has been argued that the course was actually 693m long.
The programme consisted of 33 movements.
There were eight full teams of three and two individual riders from Mexico. Seven qualified for the ride-off. Germany and the Soviet Union shared the top four places individually and won gold and silver with the teams. Switzerland, the silver medallists in Tokyo 1964, dropped to third. Following the judging scandal of 1956, the judges came from France, Chile and The Netherlands, none of which had a rider competing.
After the Grand Prix, Josef Neckermann (FRG) and Mariano had a comfortable lead: 948 points against 908 for Ivan Kizimov (URS)/Ikhor and 896 for Reiner Klimke (FRG)/Dux. The ride-off (6min. 45sec. compared with 12min. 30sec. for the Grand Prix) resulted in a change of leader. Kizimov received 664 points while Neckermann managed only 598. Thus it was gold for Kizimov, silver for Neckerman and bronze for Klimke.
There was plenty of drama on days three and four of the Eventing competition. During the Cross-Country, several horses were clearly in distress due to the heavy rain that had come after 30 of the 49 riders. There were two horse fatalities – Ballerina from the Soviet Union and Loughlin from Ireland – which had occurred before the big rainfall.
The 35 jumps were designed by Mario Becerril who had competed in the 1952 Olympic three-day event. After endurance day Jean-Jacques Guyon, Jim Wofford and Pavel Deev were less than 10 points apart. In the Jumping Guyon and Pitou had 10.25 points and earned individual gold. Wofford and Kilkenny had a disappointing round, with a fall, which dropped them to sixth place. Deev’s fate was even worse. The Soviet rider was last to go and with a good round he could win individual gold and team bronze. But after obstacle five he took the wrong course and was eliminated. This brought silver to the 54-year-old Derek Allhusen on the 10–year-old Lochinvar. Bronze went to Michael Page on Foster. The British, with Derek Allhusen, Richard Meade, Staff Sergeant Ben Jones and student nurse Jane Bullen won team gold, ahead of the USA and Australia.