Aquece Rio equestrian test event provides ideal preparation for 2016 Olympic Games 

10 Aug 2015

The Aquece Rio International Horse Trials, the test event that wound to a close at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Centre yesterday, has been widely acknowledged as a successful preparation for next year’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games, with the opportunity to test field of play, stabling and cross country operations.

Also tested were results, scoring and timing technology, training facilities, veterinary and medical services, sanitary and biosecurity procedures, anti-doping (human and equine), accreditation and media operations.

IOC Director Gilbert Felli, who was in Rio for the one-year-to-go celebrations and to check in on the test event programme, said he was happy with how things had run at Deodoro for the equestrian test event.

“We are very happy with the test event”, he said. “It’s an excellent tool to put the team together and it’s where you start to build up the team through integration of the different parties - sport, government and the organising committee. It’s why we do a test event, so that we can correct things and make sure everybody understands everything for next year, and Rio has delivered on that.”

Tim Hadaway, FEI Director, Games & Championships, also felt that the test event had been hugely beneficial. “We've seen great progress with infrastructure completed in time for the test event and an efficient competition delivered”, he said. “However there is still a lot of work to do to scale the venue up for next year and to ensure the standard of facilities, services and general experience for our human and equine athlete is of a true Olympic standard in 2016.”

Mike Laleune, General Manager of the Deodoro Olympic Park, which is hosting 15 sports across the Olympic and Paralympic Games, commented from the Rio 2016 Organising Committee perspective. “Overall, I’m very pleased with the results of the equestrian test event”, he said. “It culminates many months of hard work and preparation. More importantly, it gives us a very clear idea what areas require improvement in order to deliver the Olympic and Paralympic competitions next year.”

Ataide Pereira, Sports Manager at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian venue, was pleased with the way the competition had tested so many operational aspects. “I’m very happy with how the test event went, and I want to say a big thank you to my team who worked so hard to produce the results we had here this week, and to the volunteers that helped us so much. But we have a lot of work still to do to achieve the standard we need for the Games. The best athletes in the world will be here next year, so we need to have the best facilities for them and for their horses, so that they can produce the best results.”

Ruy Fonseca (BRA), team silver and individual bronze medallist at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, had planned to ride at the test event but his horse Quaint Normand was not accepted at the first horse inspection. Fonseca stayed on-site to support his team mates in the competition.

“I was here three years ago and thought we need to do a lot of work on the place to make it an Olympic venue”, he said, “but I’ve been very impressed with what’s been done, the effort that’s been put into the venue and how amazing it looks already, 12 months out from the Games. And I’ve heard the same comments from everybody.

“For sure things still need to be done, things need to be polished up, but in my view it’ll be a very special Games. It’s the first in South America and it’s going to provide a really important legacy for our continent for all sports, not just for equestrian. The equestrian venue is one of the best I’ve seen and hopefully it will keep going after the Games as part of the legacy, not just for Brazil but for the whole continent.”

Lars Roepstorff, the FEI appointed footing analyst, was in Deodoro to conduct scientific testing on the all-weather footing. “The material and installation definitely has the potential to provide excellent footing for next year’s Olympic Games”, he said, “but it is vital that the correct maintenance is done over the next 12 months, right up to and during the Games. Everything is in place for excellent Olympic competition next year and as it’s a pre-existing equestrian facility, all our athletes – human and equine – will be really well looked after.

An official Observers Programme was run concurrently with the Test Event, with representatives from 16 National Olympic Committees and National Federations attending three-days of presentations and meetings.

Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, Sweden and the United States of America all sent delegations to Rio, and the general consensus was that the Observers Programme had been extremely informative.

Will Connell, USEF Director of Sport Programs, commented: “The observers programme, from the equestrian side, has given us everything we need, and it was probably more beneficial being here without horses than with them, as we’ve able to get on with things and go to meetings.

“Having seen this venue for the first time back in 2011, the development and progression has been pleasantly surprising, and they deserve great credit for what’s been achieved. There are of course areas that need working on, but it was encouraging that these had already been identified by the venue management team. They’re not big things and are easily curable. If they carry on developing the venue at this rate it will be one of the best Olympic and Paralympic venues we’ve seen.”


#1yeartogo #Rio2016


Notes to editor

Equestrian at Deodoro Olympic Park

The Deodoro Olympic Park is the second largest Rio 2016 Games cluster. Deodoro’s nine venues will host the Olympic sports of basketball, BMX, canoe slalom, fencing, hockey, modern pentathlon, mountain biking, rugby sevens, shooting and the Paralympic sports of wheelchair fencing, Football 7-a-side and shooting alongside Jumping, Dressage, Eventing, and Para-Equestrian Dressage:


Rio 2016 Olympic Games - qualified nations

Brazil, as host nation, earns automatic team qualification for Rio 2016. Full details on qualified nations will be updated at (see “Qualification System” link per discipline). The following nations have so far qualified team spots for Rio 2016:

Jumping: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Ukraine, USA, Qatar

Dressage: Australia, Brazil, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, USA

Eventing: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, USA

The remaining equestrian team places at Rio 2016 will be decided at continental qualifiers, while individual places will be decided according to world rankings. All athletes competing at the Games must obtain the minimum eligibility requirements.


Rio 2016 useful links


Rio 2016 Organising Committee is also making images, video, athlete quotes and news available on and Rio 2016 social media channels. Images of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee programmes and events can also be accessed through the dedicated press room: and videos of the Rio 2016 venues and transformations taking place across the city can be found on the Rio City Hall ´Cidade Olimpica´ website:

About Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI)

The FEI is the world governing body for horse sport recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and was founded in 1921. Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic movement since the 1912 Games in Stockholm. The FEI is the sole controlling authority for all international events in the Olympic sports of Jumping, Dressage and Eventing, as well as Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining. The FEI became one of the first international sports governing bodies to govern and regulate global para sport alongside its seven able-bodied disciplines when Para-Equestrian Dressage joined its ranks in 2006. The FEI now governs all international competitions for Para-Equestrian Dressage and Para-Driving.  


Marcio Jorge (BRA) and Coronel MCJ, who claimed gold at the Rio 2016 test event - the Aquece Rio International Horse Trials – held at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Centre, was among those that gave the test event the “thumbs up”. (FEI/Raphael Macek

Marcio Jorge (BRA) and Coronel MCJ, who claimed gold at the Rio 2016 test event - the Aquece Rio International Horse Trials – held at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Centre, was among those that gave the test event the “thumbs up”. (FEI/Raphael Macek

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