Image: Michael Nalley / DigitalVision / Getty Images
About This Quiz
There are actual, ancient cave paintings from pre-history that depict people on horseback, so it's safe to say that equestrian life has existed in some form in human history for literally thousands of years. It may not have gone by that name, and there may not have been competitions, but humans and horses have worked together and played together for a very long time. Only dogs even come close to having the same bond with mankind that horses have.
These days, horse riding is a very big deal for a lot of people. Not only is it an Olympic sport, but there are also dozens of major competitions that take place every year all over the world. Horses are bred for this, and humans train right alongside them for years to master things like dressage and jumping. With such a long history and such a huge variety of events, styles, terms and skills one needs to understand to really get into the world of equestrian, there is more trivia than you can shake a horseshoe at. So the first question you need to ask yourself is if you really know about horses and riding. If you think you do, then you need to saddle up and take this quiz. Show us what you've got!
The United States Equestrian Federation is the governing body for equestrian events in America. When did it start?
When it first began in 1917, the United States Equestrian Federation was called the Association of American Horse Shows and united about 50 different horse shows together.
How did the Inclosure Acts of Parliament in England end up having an effect on equestrian events?
The Inclosure Acts in the UK gave common ground to private landowners, which in turn led to a heck of a lot of fences. Horses and riders on fox hunts now had to contend with many fences which were never an issue before. This, in turn, led to horses being bred for their jumping abilities.
Only half the teams that entered the show jumping competition this year at the Olympics actually completed the course because it was so hard. What year was it?
The course at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles was so difficult that no teams actually managed to finish it. Individual medals were awarded, but there were no team medals given out.
What is unique about how the Olympics treats men's and women's equestrian events?
Unlike other events at the Olympic level, there's no separation of the sexes during equestrian competitions, arguably because the horse is the one doing all the work.
Britain's first-ever three-day, non-Olympic equestrian event was held in 1949. It went on to become an annual event. In what sporty named town was it held?
In 1949, just a year after the 1948 Olympics, the Badminton Horse Trials were held in Badminton, England. They're still held to this day and hundreds of thousands of people attend.
Which country has won the gold in equestrian at the Olympics more than any other country?
Germany leads the medal count with 25 gold. Switzerland clocks in with 17 and then France rounds out the top three with 14. Good job, everyone!
At what modern Olympics did equestrian events first appear?
The Paris Olympics in 1900 was the first modern Olympics to feature equestrian events. The riders at the time were military on military horses, as civilians were not allowed to compete until 1952.
Vaulting is usually a circus style of riding which involves gymnastics on horseback. It has been featured at exactly one Olympic games. What year were those games?
The 1920 Olympics were held in Belgium and were the only games to feature vaulting as an event. Belgium won the gold.
The 1932 Olympics were some of the most poorly attended owing in part to the difficulty getting horses across the world. How many countries competed?
Only 6 countries showed up to compete in the 1932 Olympic equestrian events - France, Japan, Sweden, Mexican, The Netherlands and the United States.
How many horses is a rider allowed to use if they're competing at a three-day event?
To keep the competition fair over the course of an event for everyone, competitors must use the same horse the entire time. There are some events when a rider doesn't have to stick with the same horse, though.
In what year were women first allowed to compete in Olympic equestrian events?
The 1952 Olympics in Helsinki were the first to allow women to compete in equestrian. They were only permitted to compete in dressage, however, as it was determined jumping and eventing were not safe.
Show jumping is pretty much what it sounds like. What is the event called when a rider races and also has to go over jumps and obstacles?
Steeplechasing is not an Olympic event, and it seems to be most popular in the UK where it can also be called hunt racing. It gets its name from the fact that early races used a church steeple as a landmark to orient the race.
Endurance riding is a kind of race that takes place over distances up to 100 miles. What breed of horse is the most popular for this kind of competition?
Even though there are no restrictions on the breed of horse that can compete in endurance racing, Arabians have long dominated the sport thanks to the fact they have been bred for endurance.
What's the name for the popular equestrian event, somewhat similar to a rodeo, you'd find in Mexico?
Charreada events have a long tradition in Mexico and evolved from animal husbandry practices and traditions brought over from Spain. Originally they were competitions between neighboring haciendas.
What is the name of the jumping competition in which the height of the wall being jumped gets raised slightly higher each round?
Puissance is from the French word for power. The world record for a jump in puissance was set in 1991. The jump was 7 feet, 10 inches. That horse should play basketball.
Horses are measured using "hands." How big is a hand?
A hand is considered to be 4 inches in length. It is derived from what was believed to be the average breadth of a human hand.
Equestrian events all follow the same format for event schedules. What event comes first?
Whether it's a one-day or a three-day event, the order of events is dressage, cross country then show jumping.
Thanks to quarantine laws in this country, equestrian events at the 1956 Olympics had to actually be held in an entirely different country at a different time of year. What was the country?
Australia's strict quarantine laws prevented any countries from bringing horses into the country. That resulted in the event being held in Sweden, several months before the actual Olympics in Melbourne.
Which of these breeds would be best for show jumping?
Hanoverian horses are a warmblooded breed that come from Germany. They're considered very athletic and agile, which is what makes them excel at show jumping.
Canter is a popular kind of horse gait, but it has a different name in Western riding. What do they call it?
When a horse canters or, in Western, lopes, the front and hind leg on one side of the horse will move forward further than the front and hind leg on the opposite side. It sounds confusing when you're a human dealing with only two legs.
What animal shares a name with the part of a horse's hoof that acts as something of a shock absorber?
The frog of a horse's hoof is a rubbery, somewhat triangular part on the underside of the hoof. It's not just a shock absorber, it helps with circulation as well.
In horse racing, distances are often measured in furlongs. What the heck is a furlong?
A furlong clocks in at 200 meters or 220 yards, which is also 1/8 of a standard mile.
Olympic equestrian has been rocked by scandal in the past. What year saw no dressage competition after a judging scandal at the previous Olympics?
The Rome Olympics in 1960 dropped dressage from the team events because of a scandal in 1956. At those Olympics, it was determined that some judges had been favoring competitors from their own countries.
Arguably the goofiest thing that ever happened at the Olympics was when a rider fell off his horse and spent 3 hours trying to catch it again. What year was that?
At the 1936 Olympics, one poor, unfortunate rider fell off his horse and set into motion a slapstick comedy of events. Because a rider is given penalty points when things go wrong, this rider managed to rack up 18,000 penalty points for his 3-hour horse chase.
If you're looking to pick up a racehorse, you might try Tattersalls. What do they do?
Tattersalls is a famous auctioneer of horses and has been in business since 1766. Back then it was run by Richard Tattersall and has since moved several times, but is world famous for its work.
Professional athletes are tested for performance-enhancing drugs all the time, and horses need to be tested too. What was the first year a horse was disqualified from the Olympics for testing positive?
It was at the Montreal Olympics when a horse named San Carlos was disqualified from the competition. In this case, the horse hadn't been doped to cheat, it had received treatment for an injury and the drugs that it was given made it unable to compete.
How many natural gaits are there?
There are four natural gaits for horses, the way a horse will naturally move without having to be trained. They are walk, trot, canter and gallop.
Polo used to be an Olympic event. How many teams competed at the 1908 Olympics?
The 1908 Olympics featured only two polo teams - England and Ireland. On the bright side, no one had to take home bronze. England won the gold, though.
The equestrian events at the Olympics have not always been super popular. What was the problem at the 1900 Paris Olympics?
The 1900 Paris Olympics was where equestrian events made their debut. Maybe as a result of being the new kid in town, no one was that interested, so there ended up being more people competing than watching.
What's another name for the gymkhana event in equestrian competitions?
Gymkhana is also called "O-mok-see" which is derived from a Native American term that more or less means "games on horseback."
What does it mean when someone calls a horse "spooky?"
A spooky horse is a horse that has some fear issues and tends to scare pretty easily. Hey, that happens to the best of us.
On average, how fast is a horse able to gallop?
A gallop is the fastest gait of a horse and is generally just to flee when a horse is in danger or frightened. Horses usually can't maintain the speed for too great a distance, but they can gallop at speeds of about 25 to 30 miles per hour.
What is it called when a rider rises and falls in the saddle in time with the gait of the horse?
Posting is also sometimes called rising and it's just the simple act of a rider matching the rhythm of the horse's trot while in the saddle.
In what year did equestrianism appear in the ancient Greek Olympic games?
Chariot racing occurred at the 25th Greek Olympiad back in the year 682 BC. The race was a four-horse chariot race. No word on who won, though.
The USA and Britain award colored ribbons and rosettes differently for winning competitions. Third place is the same color in both countries, however. What color is it?
In the USA, blue is first and red is second while the reverse is true in Britain. However, once you get to third, both countries give out yellow.
About HowStuffWorks Play
How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!