This is a very competitive sport, in which horse and rider have to complete three disciplines of dressage, show jumping and cross country. These three disciplines are held over one, two or three days depending on the level and type of event.
For a one day event (ODE) the dressage takes place first, then the show jumping, and then the cross country whereas, for more experienced classes such as a three day event the dressage takes place on the first day, followed by the cross country on the second day, and the show jumping last to test the accuracy of the horse and rider even more.
Eventing requires excellence in all three disciplines, as well as the rider being able to judge the pace that they are traveling at and the fitness levels of the horse and speed required to cover many miles without distress to the horse, all in all it makes for an excellent and highly rewarding challenge.
Eventing as we know it today originally began as a means of testing the military horses for their endurance, courage and stamina as well as for their obedience, elegance and control. These attributes were necessary for the parade grounds but more importantly for the battle grounds and for the ability to cover many miles and relay messages.
In 1912 Even ting was introduced to the Olympic games at Stockholm, Sweden. At the time it was called 'Militaire' as only military horses with officers on active duty were allowed to compete.
In the Paris Olympics of 1924 civilians were allowed to compete and the three day format that we know today of dressage, cross country and show jumping began.
Women competitors were allowed to compete from 1964 onwards.
Eventing has a number of classes which start off with BE80 and become more challenging as horse and rider progress with Advanced classes being the most technical and challenging. Competitors who finish in the top ten are awarded points for placing and the more points that are gained the higher up the levels they can go. This way of qualifying ensures that both horse and rider are ready to move up the levels which increases in difficulty the higher up they go.
The scores for each movement in the dressage test are added up to give a total, which is converted into the final score for dressage. From this score any penalty points gained during the show jumping and cross country phase are added to give the riders total score at the end of the day, which ideally should be as low as possible.
The Event Horse
Needs to be attentive and disciplined with elegance, suppleness and style in order to ride a Dressage test, a careful show jumper who is agile, energetic and quick thinking, and for the cross country, your horse will need to be bold and quick thinking, accurate, obedient, agile and fit for the level they are competing at.
The Three Phases
There are three distinct phases to an event, each testing a specific set of skills of horse and rider.
Cross Country Fences
Fences are solidly built and unlike show jumps are designed not to move or fall down. The one exception to this rule is when a 'post and rail' fence has to be jumped as these are designed with metal pins in which cause the top rail to collapse if significant pressure (the weight of a horse) is applied. The reason for this is to help prevent rotation falls, and elimination occurs to any horse who causes a pin to break in such an incident.
Fences are jumped with the red flag on the right and the white flag on the left and can include fences such as palisades, coffin fences, bounce jumps, steps up and down, trakehenars, drop fences, styles, banks, streams, ponds, walls, tree logs, corner fences, hay carts and at top level the odd vehicle, such as a pick up truck may also have to be jumped.
The Federation Equestre Internationals (FEI) main competitions are: