Eventing is one of english style riding most demanding sport. Where horse and rider take part in dressage, show jumping, and the all time favorite, cross country.

The PhasesEdit

Eventing is an equestrian triathlon that combines three different english style ridings in one competetions set over one to three days depending on length of courses and number of competetors.


Dressage is the test of rhythm, grace, and connection between rider. This was used by military calvaries to test the horse and rider, but is now a beautiful sport. Dressage is the first phase of the triathalon of eventing, held in an enclosed arena. Judges look for rhythm, suppleness, balance, and mainly obedience. The testing is equivalent to USDF Third Level dressage with possible askings of half-pass at trot, shoulder-in, travers, collected, medium, and extended gaits,flying changes, and counter canter. Tests may not ask for Grand Prix gaits and movements like piaffe, or passage.

Each movement in this test is socred on a scale of 0-10, 10 being the highest and with the total maximum score depending on the level and movements. If one movement is poorly executed, it is possible to still get a good overall score. The marks are added together and errors deducted, to convert to penalty marks, the judges convert to a percent of maximum possible points, multiplied by a co-efficien decided by the governing body, and subtracted from 100.

  • Once the bell rings the rider is allowed 45 seconds to enter the ring or is eliminated.
  • If all four feet of the horse exit the arena during the test, this results in elimination.
  • If the horse resists more than 20 seconds during the test, this results in elimination.
  • Errors on course:
    • 1st Error = minus 2 marks
    • 2nd Error = minus 4 marks
    • 3rd Error = elimination1


The next phase known as cross-country, is a favorite amoung spectators and riders. The rider and horse must be trusting and brave for eachother because this sport demands fit riders and horses. This phase may consist of 12-20 fences in lower levels, and 30-40 in higher levels of cross-country eventing, all which are placed across an outdoor circuit. The fences are natural solidly built objects ( stone walls, logs, ect.) and drops and banks, ponds or streams, and ditches. Fences are sometimes desgined that are not found naturally in nature, but to look natural. Many safety regulations mean fences are built with the frangibke pin system, allowing part ot all of the jump to collapse with enough impact.

Riders are to walk a course between 1-3 times before riding it to be allowed to evaluate the course and determine how it needs to be ridden. Good footing is also needed in eventers to decrease wear and tear on their horses.


Because the lowest score wins, each combination of horse and rider seeks to complete the cross-country with as few penalties as possible. If larger faults occur, such as multiple refusals, the horse will be eliminated (E) from competition and will not be allowed to finish the course. Elimination has also been subdivided in the United States to include Technical Elimination (TE), if a mistake is made that is unrelated to the horse (for example, jumping two fences in the wrong order). Riders may also choose to retire (R) on course if their horse is having a poor run. This prevents the rider from continuing the competition, but is often a good choice if the horse is physically or mentally overfaced by the challenges. Mandatory Retirement (MR) occurs if the horse falls, even if he is not noticeably injured, to help protect the horse's welfare. Withdrawing (W) only occurs if the horse is taken out of competition when he is not on course. Rider may be disqualified (DQ) if they endanger their mount or other people on course. The United States added Dangerous Riding penalties in 2007, to be added at the discretion of the ground jury if a rider is going around the course in an unsafe manner (for example, at an extreme speed).

Disobediences from the horse

  • First refusal or crossing tracks (circling) in front of an obstacle: 20 penalties per obstacle
  • 2nd refusal or crossed tracks at the same obstacle: 40 additional penalties
  • 3rd refusal or crossed tracks at the same obstacle (an "obstacle" includes all its elements): elimination
  • 4th cumulative refusal or crossed tracks on the entire course: elimination

[edit]Errors on course

  • Jumping obstacles in the wrong order (#5 before #4, or element B before A): elimination
  • Jumping a fence in a direction which is not flagged: elimination
  • Omission of a jump or compulsory passage: elimination
  • Note: the only time a competitor may jump an obstacle twice in a row is if a refusal occurs at a second element (B) and the rider can not approach "B" without re-jumping "A" (a bounce, for example)
  • Note: the horse is only allowed to jump from a standstill if the obstacle's height is no higher than 30 cm (for example, banks and ditches). Jumping any other obstacles from a standstill (a "prolonged halt") counts as a refusal.
  • Note: horses are allowed to step sideways, but any step back is considered a refusal.

Fall of Rider: Elimination


  • Fall of horse (quarters and shoulder touches ground): Mandatory retirement
  • Note: riders may dismount at anytime on course without penalty, but the dismount must not be related to an obstacle

[edit]Time faults

  • Every second commenced above the optimum time, rounded up to the nearest second: 0.4 penalties/sec
  • Exceeding the allowed time (2× the optimum time): elimination
  • In the United States, going too fast for the level will result in "Speed Faults": 0.4 penalties/sec for every second under the Speed fault time
  • Trying to increase one's time, or "willfull delay," to avoid speed faults (circling, serpentining, walking, or halting between the final fence and the finish): 20 penalties

[edit]Other reasons for elimination

  • Rider without headgear or a fastened harness strap
  • Improper saddlery (for example, riding with a running martingale and no rein stops)
  • Overtaking another rider on course in a dangerous manner (for example, jumping a fence at the same time as the other rider)
  • Willful obstruction of an overtaking competitor
  • Failure to stop on course when signalled
  • Horses head and front shoulder outside of the flags
  • In lower level cross country competitions, failure to wear medical armband (at discretion of Ground Jury)2


Show JumpingEdit

Also known as "stadium jumping","open jumping", and "jumpers". There are two different types of jumping, Hunter, which is scored of ways of going, manners, and style. Jumpers are based on whether or not they cleared the jump, finishes in allotted time, and if the horse attempts the hurdle. Jumper classes are much more colorful and a bit complex compared to hunter classes because riders are not judged on style. Hunters tend to have quiet, conservative tack and attire. Hunter bits,bridles,crops, spurs, and martingales are strictly regulated. 3

Types of show jumpsEdit

Show jumping fences often are colorful, sometimes very elaborate and artistic in design, particularly at the highest levels of competition. Types of jumps used include the following:

Vertical (or upright) – a jump that consists of poles or planks placed one directly above another with no spread, or width, to jump

  • Oxer – two verticals close together, to make the jump wider, also called a spread
    • Square oxer (sometimes known as Box Oxer): both top poles are of an equal height
    • Ascending oxer (usually called a Ramped Oxer): the furthest pole is higher than the first
    • Descending oxer (usually called an Offset Oxer): the furthest pole is lower than the closest
    • Swedish oxer: the poles slant in opposite directions, so that they appear to form an "X" shape when seen head on
  • Triple bar – is a spread fence using three elements of graduating heights
  • Cross rail – not commonly used in sanctioned horse shows, and sometimes called a "cross-pole," two poles crossed with one end of each pole being on the ground and on jump standards so that the center is lower than the sides; used at small shows and for schooling purposes to help the horse jump in the center of the fence
  • Wall – this type of jump usually is made to resemble a brick wall, but the "bricks" are constructed of a lightweight material and fall easily when knocked
  • Hogsback – a type of spread fence with three rails where the tallest pole is in the center
  • Filler – this is not a type of fence, but is a solid part below the poles, such as flower boxes or a rolltop; it also may be a gate
  • Combination – usually two or three jumps in a row, with no more than two strides between each; two jumps in a row are called double combinations, and three jumps in a row are called triple combinations (if a horse refuses the second or third element in one of these combinations, they must jump the whole combination again, not just any obstacle missed)
  • Fan: the rails on one side of the fence are spread out by standards, making the fence take the shape of a fan when viewed from above
  • Open Water: a wide ditch of water
  • Liverpool: a ditch or large tray of water under a vertical or oxer
  • Joker – a tricky fence comprising only a rustic (or unpainted) rail and two wings wherein the lack of filler makes it difficult for a horse to judge their proximity to the fence as well as the fence's height, making it a tricky obstacle usually found only in the upper divisions, and illegal in some competitions

At international level competitions that are governed by FEI rules, fence heights begin at 1.50 metres (4 ft 11 in). Other competition levels are given different names in different nations, but are based primarily on the height and spread of fences

In the United States, jumping levels range from 0–9 as follows: USEF Jumper Levels

  • Level 1. Fences 2’9” to 3’0” in height and 3’0” to 3’6” in spread, Triple bars/liverpools to 4’0”
  • Level 2. Fences 3’0” to 3’3” in height and 3’3” to 3’9” in spread, Triple bars/liverpools to 4’3”
  • Level 3. Fences 3’3” to 3’6” in height and 3’6” to 4’0” in spread, Triple bars/liverpools to 4’6”
  • Level 4. Fences 3’6” to 3’9” in height and 3’9” to 4’3” in spread, Triple bars to 4’9”, Water to 8’
  • Level 5. Fences 3’9” to 4’0” in height and 4’0” to 4’6” in spread, Triple bars to 5’0”, Water to 9’
  • Level 6. Fences 4’0”to 4’3” in height and 4’3” to 4’9” in spread, Triple bars to 5’3”, Water to 10’
  • Level 7. Fences 4’3” to 4’6” in height and 4’6” to 5’0” in spread, Triple bars to 5’6”, Water to 12’
  • Level 8. Fences 4’6” to 4’9” in height and 4’9” to 5’3” in spread, Triple bars to 5’9”, Water to 12’6”
  • Level 9. Fences 4’9” to 5’0” in height and 5’0” to 5’6” in spread, Triple bars to 6’0”, Water to 13’

In Germany, competition levels are denoted by the letters A-S, and correspond to heights ranging from 0.80 to 1.55 meters.