Oct 19, 2020

How Strong Is Your Intermediate Game?

Lynn Symansky and Under Suspection had the lowest Intermediate dressage score and two of the 10 lowest finishing scores in 2019. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

How competitive have your Intermediate results been? What is a good final score? What is a good dressage score? How are the top placers scoring? As we continue this series on the USEA levels, EquiRatings offers some stats and graphs to help evaluate your Intermediate game.

How are People Scoring at Intermediate?

These graphs show Intermediate performance across the board, from sub-28 to DNF (Did Not Finish). Take a look to see what scores the Intermediate population has been earning. What scores do you usually get? We offer some of our takeaways to get you started.

The Show Jumping Zones and the Cross-Country Zones include time and jumping penalties.

The Big Picture at Intermediate

Finishing Score Zones

  • Sub-36 Zones: Only 1 in 10 Intermediate starters (10%) finish sub-36.
  • 60+ Zone: On the other end of the spectrum, over 1 in 4 Intermediate starters (26%) finish with 60 penalties or more.

Per-Phase Zones

  • Only around 1 in 20 Intermediate starters (6%) get a sub-28 dressage score.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Intermediate show jumping starters (63%) earn 4 or fewer show jumping penalties.
  • 1 in 10 Intermediate cross-country starters (10%) finish the phase clear and within the time.
  • Over 1 in 10 Intermediate cross-country starters (12%) do not finish the phase.

The Target Score for a Win at Intermediate

Eventing is about putting all three phases together to finish strong, but what is a strong finish at the Intermediate level? What are the top finishers scoring? The graphs and tables below show you what it takes to win.

Top Finishing Scores

  • Less than 1 in 10 Intermediate winners (9%) finish sub-28.
  • Over 2 in 5 Intermediate winners (41%) finish between 28 and 36.
  • Over 2 in 5 third-place finishers (42%) finish in the next two zones, between 36 and 45.

Dressage - What Does a Strong Start Look Like at Intermediate?

Final Position

Average Dressage Score

Started as Dressage Leader

Started 10 Marks or Less from Dressage Leader

Started more than 10 Marks from Dressage Leader

Winner

31.7

38.6%

58.6%

2.8%

Third Place

34.4

9.5%

73.4%

17.1%

Using 2017-2019 Intermediate data.

  • Intermediate winners average a dressage score of 31.7. This is the highest average of any U.S. national level.
  • Nearly 2 in 5 of Intermediate winners (38.6%) are leaders after the first phase.
  • Most Intermediate third-place finishers (nearly 3 in 4, 73.4%) are not the dressage leader but are within 10 marks after the first phase.

Show Jumping - Can You Afford to Knock a Pole at Intermediate?

Final Position

0 Show Jumping Penalties

1 to 4 Show Jumping Penalties

5 or More Show Jumping Penalties

Winner

66.6%

24.9%

8.5%

Third Place

48.7%

31.8%

19.5%

Using 2017-2019 Intermediate data. This table includes show jumping time penalties and jumping penalties.

  • A clean show jumping round is helpful for a win at Intermediate. Two-thirds of Intermediate winners (66.6%) keep all the rails up and finish under time.
  • Half of third-place finishers (51.3%) do have show jumping faults.

Cross-Country - Do You Need to be Clear Inside the Time at Intermediate?

Final Position

Clear Inside the Time

Average Cross-Country Time Penalties

Winner

29%

4.5

Third Place

18%

7.0

Using 2017-2019 Intermediate data.

  • A clean jumping cross-country round is critical to success, but a few time penalties won’t take you out the running. Only one-third of Intermediate winners (29%) finish clear and within the optimum time.
  • Only 1 out of every 5 third-place finishers (18%) complete cross-country clear and within the optimum time.

What are the 2019 Record Performances?

Lastly, we have pulled the 2019 record dressage scores and record finishing scores from the Intermediate level. All the top finishing scores are sub-28!

How Can You Use These Numbers?

Seeing these types of overall stats can help you gain clarity and set realistic targets. Of course, long-term goal-setting is not about comparison; you have to stay in your lane or risk being robbed of fulfilment. But these numbers can help you figure out where you stand. If you do want to be a bit more competitive, now you know what it takes. Be encouraged by hitting small, measurable targets every step of the way.

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