Oct 02, 2021

Rule Refresher: What is the Compulsory Retirement Rule?

By Meagan DeLisle - USEA Staff
USEA/ Meagan DeLisle photo

The Compulsory Retirement rule is a fairly new addition to the USEF Rules for Eventing having gone into effect on June 1, 2021. Compulsory Retirement, denoted as CR on scoring, is enacted when a competitor has 20 or more show jumping penalties at the Training, Modified, Preliminary, Intermediate, or Advanced levels. This rule was originally proposed by the USEA Safety Committee after they reviewed performance data over the past five years. There was clear indication that horses performing at or above the Training level suffered exponentially more falls on cross-country after having 16 or more show jumping penalties. Similar rules exist in other countries including the UK.

If a competitor has 20 or more show jumping penalties Compulsory Retirement is applied whether or not show jumping is the second or final phase. The decision to apply Compulsory Retirement, regardless of format, was simply fair play. Scheduling is the primary reason that show jumping precedes cross-country, and it would be unfair to penalize a rider who has no control over how a division at an individual competition might be scheduled versus another competition. Therefore, Compulsory Retirement rules apply regardless of whether cross-country or show jumping is scheduled first.

Text has been taken directly from the USEF Rules for Eventing with emphasis added by the USEA.

Under Section EV150 Penalties, the USEF Rules for Eventing outlines Compulsory Retirement as follows:

10. COMPULSORY RETIREMENT. A competitor incurs 20 or more jump penalties at the Training Level or higher. Enforced at the end of the round unless the competitor retires or is eliminated.

Compulsory Retirement is also mentioned under Section EV153 Faults:

EV153 Faults

1. Faults made between the starting line and the finishing line must be taken into consideration.

2. Disobediences committed during the time when the round is interrupted (EV152.7) are not penalized.

3. Disobediences, falls etc., occurring between the signal to start and the moment the competitor crosses the starting line in the correct direction, are not penalized.

4. Faults are penalized in penalty points or by elimination as set out in this section (EV153).

  • Obstacle knocked down while jumping - 4 penalties
  • First disobedience - 4 penalties
  • Second disobedience or other under rule EV154 at Preliminary, Intermediate and Advanced - Elimination
  • Second disobedience or other under rule EV154 at Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, and Modified - 8 penalties
  • Third disobedience or other under rule EV154 at Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, and Modified - Elimination
  • Fall of horse or competitor or both - Elimination
  • Exceeding the time limit - Elimination
  • Exceeding the time allowed - 0.4 penalty per commenced second
  • 20 or more (jump) penalties at Training, Modified, Preliminary, Intermediate, or Advanced - Compulsory retirement enforced at end of round, unless competitor retires or is eliminated

5. Penalties for the disobediences accumulate, not just at the same obstacle, but throughout the entire round.

Want to catch up on past rule refreshers? Click here.

Jan 27, 2023 ATC

Introducing the New Modified Rider Division at the 2023 AEC

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the addition of the Modified Rider division beginning at the 2023 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC), presented by Nutrena Feeds. The USEA AEC will move back to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky August 29–September 3, 2023.

Jan 26, 2023 Young Event Horse

Get a Taste of Eventing with the New Event Horse Program

Are you interested in competing in the sport of eventing but aren’t quite sure how to get started? Do you have a horse that is looking for a new career? Consider participating in a USEA New Event Horse (NEH) competition in 2023! The USEA NEH Program was created to be an introduction to the sport of eventing for both horse and rider, and the 2023 NEH Calendar is now available here.

Jan 25, 2023 Profile

Dondante Steps Into The Spotlight with 2022 Standlee USEA Horse of the Year Title

Will Coleman had a huge 2022 with his string of horses, including a team silver medal at the FEI World Eventing Championship in Italy on Off The Record and top four-star placings with Chin Tonic HS, but it was Dondante whose consistency paid off to earn the Standlee Premium Western Forage USEA Horse of the Year title.

Jan 24, 2023 Volunteers

The VIP Volunteer: Julie Murray

Julie Murray has loved horses since she could breathe, so when her daughters showed an interest in Pony Club and then eventing, she was thrilled to go along for the ride.

Murray started volunteering at the Fallbrook Pony Club near her home in Fallbrook, California, serving as an intermediate district commissioner.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Real Estate Partner of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Outerwear of the USEA

Official Competition & Training Apparel of the USEA