As the only Olympic sport to include animals, the equestrian competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games comes with its own set of worries when considering the searing heat of the Japanese summer.
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In a scene from the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials held this May in England, after finishing clearing hedges and water jumps along a roughly 6,000-meter equestrian cross-country course, a horse walks in circles to control its breathing and cool down. Operate and others run with loads in hand, wallowing freezing water over the horse’s body uncountable times.
“Horses cannot be likened to other animals when it originates to whether they are robust or weak to the heat, so a single ruling can’t be made. Still, the ‘two weightiest sweaters’ in the animal kingdom are horses and humans. They also grow symptoms of heatstroke,” clarified Japan Racing Connotation Equine Department veterinarian Hiroko Aida, who is also complicated with the organization of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Horses have a basic body temperature that is unevenly two degrees Celsius higher than humans, and after running a tough cross-country course, their body temperature can exceed 40 degrees Celsius, according to Aida.
Cooling their bodies with chilled water is a simple method to lower their body temperatures. In order to cool the animals down even further, the staff uses equine “sweat scrapers,” equipped with a round ring made of metal or other materials, to remove sweat and water from the horse’s body. By repeating these procedures for roughly 10 minutes, a horse’s body temperature can fall by as much as 2 degrees.
The rank placed on events to fight the heat comes from a state unique to the game that is not uncommon consuming to withdraw in the middle of rivalry due to the disorder of the horse itself. At the Tokyo Olympic, equestrian will be divided into three events dressage, Eventing and jumping. In the Eventing rivalry, horses and riders compete in dressage, cross-country and jumping, in that order.
When the cross-country unit is completed, veterinarians and a group of adjudicators check the heart rate, body temperature and additional vitals of the horse to checkered the animal’s condition. If the horse’s condition is judged not to be suitable, it will not move onto the final jumping section. It’s not rare for horse-human pairs that come out on top after the cross-country section to then be removed from the competition totally, specialists say.
In Olympic equestrian rivalry, full-scale events to battle the heat, such as water misters, started from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The Tokyo Olympic Games will also see the connection of large tents, and there are plans to also have giant admirers and water misters to create an environment to keep the horses cool.
“I would like to create a setup where horses can compete at peak physical condition, leading to a successful Tokyo Games,” supposed Aida.
Nonetheless the events against the high temperatures are not incomplete to just after the conclusion of the race. The stalls where the horses will be expenditure the majority of their time in Tokyo will also be fully armed with air conditioning. There are also plans to prepare special transport vehicles for the animals that also have air conditioners.
During the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the cross-country event held in Hong Kong was scheduled for the evening to avoid the midday sun. The Tokyo Olympic Games will also be dividing the starting time for each of the equestrian events between the early morning and later in the evening. The cross-country section has a planned starting time of 8:30 a.m.
Those involved in equestrian events in Europe, the home of the sport, have been voicing their concerns about the high-temperature and high-humidity conditions in Tokyo. Olympic organizers in Tokyo must devise countermeasures so that horses are not defeated by the searing heat, but are left to battle the competition.