In modern Dressage competitions, the horse and rider perform a series of movements known as a Dressage test. The tests are performed before a panel of seven judges, who award scores for individual movements and for the overall routine.
The Dressage competition consists of a Team event (made up of three athletes/horses), which includes the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special rounds; and an Individual event, which includes the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special as qualifiers for the Grand Prix Freestyle (the competition that decides the final Individual classification). The Team and Individual events are conducted simultaneously: a rider’s score in a test will be relevant for both events.
After the first phase, the Grand Prix, the best seven teams (including any teams tied for seventh place) and the best 11 individuals (including any tied for 11th place) who are not already qualified as team members, progress to the next phase, the Grand Prix Special.
The Team event medals are decided by the total of the scores in the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special.
After the Grand Prix Special, the best 18 individuals (including any tied for 18th place) go through to the Grand Prix Freestyle. Riders are selected to go through on the basis of their performance in the Grand Prix Special only.
Performance in the Grand Prix Freestyle determines the medals in the Individual event.
For a complete set of rules, please refer to the website of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), governing body for the sport.
Find out more about the Equestrian Dressage competition at the Olympic Games on the International Olympic Committee website.