Equestrian at the 1952 Summer Olympics

at the Games of the XV Olympiad
Mauno roiha.jpg
Mauno Roiha and Laaos practising at the 1952 Olympic Games
Ruskeasuo Equestrian Hall
Helsinki Olympic Stadium
No. of events6
Competitors134 from 25 nations
← 1948
1956 →

The equestrian events at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Olympics included dressage, eventing, and show jumping. All three disciplines had both individual and team competitions and were held from 28 July to 3 August 1952.

One of the biggest changes at the 1952 Olympics was the demographics of competitors. Before this, most of the riders were officers (41 of 44 starters at the 1948 Olympics were riding in uniform), whereas the Helsinki Games saw over 50% of competitors from the civilian ranks. Additionally, women were now allowed to compete for the first time in equestrian events. At the 1952 Games, they were permitted in the dressage competition, although prohibited from the jumping (per a ruling in 1951) and most definitely not in eventing which was considered too dangerous. A total of 4 women competed out of 134 riders.

25 nations competed: Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the USA. This was the first appearance for Canada, Egypt, Korea, and the Soviet Union. Russia had sent riders to the 1912 Games, but had not competed since. The youngest participant was Walter Staley (19) from the United States, while the oldest rider was the Danish Kristian Jensen (63).[1]


Show jumping

52 riders from 20 nations competed at the 1952 Games. For the first time, individual and team medals were awarded based on a two-round Prix des Nations (Nations Cup). 16 teams rode around Björn Strandell's 786 meter course with a 1 min 57.2 second time allowed and fences up to 1.60 meters in height and a 5-meter water jump. The individual gold was won by the French rider Pierre d'Oriola, aboard the gelding, Ali Baba. D'Oriola would repeat the feat in 1964 and remains the only rider to win two gold medals in this discipline. The team event was won by Great Britain, anchored by a clear round for Harry Llewellyn and Foxhunter. This gold medal, attained on the last day of competition, was Great Britain's only gold of the 1952 Games. They remain the only nation to have won gold medals in every Summer Olympics since 1896.


Dressage rider at the 1952 Olympics

27 riders, including for the first time 4 women, from 10 nations rode in the dressage competition. One of these women was Denmark's Lis Hartel, who in 1944, at age 23, had been paralyzed by polio. She gradually regained muscle function but remained paralyzed below the knee. Amazingly, despite not being able to mount or dismount unassisted, she won individual silver.

5 judges were present at the test, with the lowest and highest scores of the panel being dropped (the only time in Olympic dressage history this method was used). The test reintroduction of the piaffe and passage, and was 15 minutes in length.


The eventing competition was slightly harder in 1952 than in 1948. Phase A was 7 km at 240m/min, Phase B (steeplechase) was 4 km at 600m/min, Phase C 15 km at 240 m/min, Phase D (cross-country) was 9 km at 450 m/min with jumping efforts up to 1.20 meters, followed by the final phase which was a 2 km "gallop" at 333m/min. The final stadium jumping round also had fences up to 1.20 meters.

59 riders from 21 countries competed, forming 19 teams. 13 of those teams were strictly officers, while 2 were a mix of officers and civilians (Great Britain and Ireland) and four had civilian-only teams (Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and the USA). Of the 12 medals awarded between the individual and team competitions, 7 went to civilians.

Medal summary

Event Gold Silver Bronze
Individual dressage
 Henri Saint Cyr
and Master Rufus (SWE)
 Lis Hartel
and Jubilee (DEN)
 André Jousseaume
and Harpagon (FRA)
Team dressage
 Sweden (SWE)
Henri Saint Cyr
and Master Rufus
Gustaf Adolf Boltenstern Jr.
and Krest
Gehnäll Persson
and Knaust
 Switzerland (SUI)
Gottfried Trachsel
and Kursus
Henri Chammartin
and Wöhler
Gustav Fischer
and Soliman
 Germany (GER)
Heinz Pollay
and Adular
Ida von Nagel
and Afrika
Fritz Thiedemann
and Chronist
Individual eventing
 Hans von Blixen-Finecke Jr.
and Jubal (SWE)
 Guy Lefrant
and Verdun (FRA)
 Wilhelm Büsing
and Hubertus (GER)
Team eventing
 Sweden (SWE)
Hans von Blixen-Finecke Jr.
and Jubal
Olof Stahre
and Komet
Folke Frölén
and Fair
 Germany (GER)
Wilhelm Büsing
and Hubertus
Klaus Wagner
and Dachs
Otto Rothe
and Trux von Kamax
 United States (USA)
Charles Hough Jr.
and Cassivellannus
Walter Staley, Jr.
and Craigwood Park
John Wofford
and Benny Grimes
Individual jumping
 Pierre Jonquères d'Oriola
and Ali Baba (FRA)
 Óscar Cristi
and Bambi (CHI)
 Fritz Thiedemann
and Meteor (GER)
Team jumping
 Great Britain (GBR)
Wilfred White
and Nizefela
Douglas Stewart
and Aherlow
Harry Llewellyn
and Foxhunter
 Chile (CHI)
Óscar Cristi
and Bambi
César Mendoza
and Pillán
Ricardo Echeverría
and Lindo Peal
 United States (USA)
William Steinkraus
and Hollandia
Arthur McCashin
and Miss Budweiser
John William Russell
and Democrat

Medal table

1 Sweden (SWE)4004
2 France (FRA)1113
3 Great Britain (GBR)1001
4 Chile (CHI)0202
5 Germany (GER)0134
6 Denmark (DEN)0101
 Switzerland (SUI)0101
8 United States (USA)0022
Totals (8 entries)66618


  1. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Equestrianism at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 19 April 2020.

External links