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About the Sport

Eventing is an equestrian event where horse and rider combinations compete against other pairs in the three phases of dressage, cross-country and show jumping. The sport takes place over a span of three days. Each day dedicated to a specific test of the horse and riders ability. The rules are regulated by the Fédération Equestre Internationale or, the FEI. Horse and rider pairs are scored based on penalty points. The pair with the lowest number is the winner.


The Three Phases of Eventing Are:

  1. Dressage
  2. The first phase of eventing is called dressage. This is the only non-jumping part of the sport, and is where the horse and rider are judged on the obedience of the horse. Everyone who is competing in each level is given a complex pattern that they have to ride. Each movement is scored on a scale of 1-10. The total number of points at the end are added together and subtracted from what would be the "perfect score." This is what the penalty score would be. Penalty points gained in the jumping phases will be added to your dressage score. The goal is to have the lowest score out of everyone you are competing against.

  3. Cross Country
  4. Cross Country is the second phase of eventing. The goal of this phase is to test the bravery of the horse, as well as the endurance. Horse and rider pairs do this phase at a full gallop. Horses must cover different types of terrain and natural jumps. Such as ditches, logs, water and drops. The goal is to jump a "clear" round, meaning no penelties. If your horse refuses to jump something, you receive 20 penalties. If you go off course, fall off, or have 3 refusals, you are eliminated. You can also receive one penalty per second you go over the time allowed. This is the most dangerous phase, and riders are required to wear safety vests to protect their spines.

  5. Show Jumping
  6. The third and final stage of eventing is show jumping. This is a test of how well a horse can recover from the endurance they did the day before and jump a course of more jumps, that are now rails instead of natural and solid jumps. The goal in this phase is to be inside the allowed time, and to not knock down any of the rails. For every rail you knock down, you get 4 penalty points added to your score. If you go off course or have three refusals, you are eliminated. Elimination also will come from a rider fall. Before this phase, horses have to pass an examination from a vet to prove that they are completely healthy from the strenuous work from the day prior. If your horse does not pass, you are forced to withdraw.

If you are interested in viewing each phase of eventing, watch these videos below.