- 38 nations (Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, , India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordon, Mexico, Netherland, Netherland Antilles, New Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay, USA, Virgin Islands)
- 194 entries (75 in Jumping; 49 in Dressage; 74 in Eventing)
- The current FEI President HRH Princess Haya, representing Jordan in Jumping, was the first Arab woman to compete in an Olympic equestrian event.
Jumping (75 riders from 29 nations)
Dressage (49 riders from 18 nations)
Eventing (74 riders from 21 nations)
The Jumping programme at Sydney remained unchanged from Atlanta 1996. The first individual competition was followed by a two-round team competition which also served towards individual qualification. The last competition was the individual final, staged on the day of the Games’ closing ceremony. The Course Designer was Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela who had provided beautiful obstacles with Australian motifs.
Two of the greatest names in Jumping - Ludger Beerbaum and Rodrigo Pessoa – had uncharacteristic performances. Ludger Beerbaum and Goldfever scored two bad rounds in the team competition, which were not enough to weaken the rock-solid German team who took team gold. Rodrigo Pessoa and Baloubet du Rouet contributed three clear rounds to Brazil’s bronze medal in the team competition and went clear in round A of the individual final but were eliminated after refusals in round B.
France and Brazil tied for third with 24 points each. In the jump-off Brazil had three clears and won its second consecutive team bronze medal. The silver medal went to Switzerland.
Forty-five riders qualified for the individual final. In round A, there were four clear rounds. These included Jeroen Dubbeldam, who went on to become Olympic champion, and Khaled Al Eid, who secured the bronze thus winning the first equestrian medal for Saudi Arabia.
The year 2000 saw the final show-down of the two Dressage horses that had dominated the sport since the early 90s. After seven gold medals in eight years the 17-year-old Gigolo ridden by Isabell Werth (GER), 31, was for the first time beaten by the 17-year-old Bonfire, the mount of Anky van Grunsven (NED), 32. In third and fourth places came Rusty 47 and Farbenfroh, who went on to win the next three FEI Championships: Rusty the European titles in 2001 and 2003, Farbenfroh the world title in 2002.
As had been the case in Atlanta, there were two Eventing competitions: one for the team honours and a second one for the individual medals. A team, whose first two riders were eliminated during endurance day could retire its third and fourth riders before the start of the steeplechase and re-enter them for the individual competition with the same horses. Three combinations therefore had double starts: Italians Verdina and Magni and the Frenchman Jean-Lou Bigot, who finished in 15th, fifth and 12th place respectively.
The Dressage test had been changed to include flying changes. The Jumping course, built by Leopoldo Palacios, measured 590m with a time allowed of 95s. and caused many time penalties. There were 13 obstacles with 16 jumping efforts up to 1.20m in height; the oxers were up to 1.40m wide.
Australia won team gold for the third time in a row. The Australians were already in the lead after Dressage, ahead of Great Britain and the USA and on endurance day, all four Australians went clear over the obstacles, two keeping their Dressage scores. Great Britain remained second, ahead of New Zealand.
Reigning world champion Ready Teddy, the mount of Blyth Tait, was eliminated during the second horse inspection which resulted in the elimination of the entire New Zealand team. This meant that the USA moved up to bronze medal position.
Thirty-eight riders from 21 nations took part in the individual competition. The cross-country course, designed by Michael Etherington-Smith of Great Britain, had 29 obstacles. The ultimate winner, David O’Connor on Custom Made, was already in the lead after Dressage. A clear round in the endurance phase and a single knock-down in the Jumping phase helped him secure the individual title. Two other Eventing greats, Andrew Hoy and Mark Todd, took the other medals.
The first-ever Greek equestrian competitor, Heidi Antikazidis aboard Michaelmas, was second after endurance; 13 penalties in the Jumping phase dropped them down to eventual sixth. There were two serious falls, one of which lead to a horse fatality.