Want to be a part of the action, but not sure what FEI Eventing fully entails? Don’t worry! We have you covered with an overall description of the three phases that comprise the thrilling discipline of Eventing.
The best way to describe Eventing is a triathlon of equestrian sport, which includes three phases – dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. Horse and rider have to be in tip-top shape to complete in all three phases over the course of three to four days – one event per day.
A fun fact you may not know is that eventing is also one of the few Olympic sports where men and women compete on equal terms!
Now that you know the overall concept, let’s dive into what each phase includes…
Dressage is a test of the horse and rider’s connection and communication with each other. The pair will complete a pre-determined pattern in an enclosed arena. Each specific “movement” is judged on a 0-10 basis with 0 being the worst and 10 being the best. The letters around the perimeter of the arena are markers as to where the specific movements should take place.
Dressage is meant to look effortless and beautiful while the horse moves through the test.
2. Cross Country
Cross Country is exactly what it sounds like – a horse and rider trek across the countryside while jumping impressive natural obstacles such as ditches, water, and banks. The course must be completed at a gallop because there is a time limit. It consists of 15-25 fences for lower levels and 30-40 fences for upper levels and the track is usually two to four miles long.
Overall, cross country is for those with no fear and is incredibly fun to watch!
3. Show Jumping
Show jumping consists of a horse and rider jumping a course of colorful rails that are easily knocked down. The objective is to not knock any rails, while also completing the course as quickly as possible within the time allowed. This phase can be tricky for horses, because they have just completed the cross country phase the day before. Jumps come down with just a small tap, so it is a test of the horse and rider’s precision and connection!
Throughout the event, each phase is scored, and penalties carry over from each day’s round. The goal is to accumulate as few faults as possible over the three days. The horse and rider who have the least penalties at the end of the competition will bring home the blue ribbon!
So grab your friends and family and come watch this September!
September 13: Eventing Dressage Day 1
September 14: Eventing Dressage Day 2
September 15: Cross Country
September 16: Eventing Jumping and Medal Ceremony