Olympic Equestrian Delivers

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The book Olympic Equestrian has been re-released just in time for the Olympic Games this August in China. This meticulously researched, colorfully illustrated volume is written by Jennifer O. Bryant, who’s also editor of ”USDF Collection,” member magazine of the US Dressage Federation.

The book was first published before the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and is now updated to include pictures and results from both Sydney and Athens in 2004, plus the addition of a list of U.S. Olympic equestrians from 1912 through 2004.

The book goes well beyond explaining the intricacies of the three Olympic equestrian sports -- jumping, eventing and dressage. It includes a fascinating history of the equestrian events and discusses many of the issues of fielding teams, including selection, transportation, coaching and maintaining the health and safety of the equine athletes. It’s both intriguing and thoroughly informative.

Our one small quibble with this excellent book ??? the source of the list of U.S. equestrian athletes is the U.S. Olympic Committee, which is quirky at best when grappling with statistics not like other Olympic events, since equestrian uses drop scores and doesn’t separate teams by gender. The quality of the records clearly improves in later years.

Best Suited For: Olympics junkies and also those who don’t know much about the equestrian games and want background information as the internet results start flowing during August.

Bottom Line: This is the rare book that will satisfy those who already know a lot about the Olympics and those who know little about the Olympics or the three specific disciplines but are still curious. It provides a satisfying blend of little-known history and up-to-date details plus the controversies that will affect horse sports for another four years or more. Published by Eclipse Press, www.eclipsepress.com, 800-866-2361, 270 pages, large format paperback, $28.