Preparing for your first horse trial and not sure what is expected of you at each level? In the last few editions of Rule Refresher we will be diving into each level and the performance expectations of each phase and in this final edition we outline the Preliminary, Intermediate, and Advanced levels. Want to better prepare yourself or your students for their first competition or a move-up? The USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels is a free resource to all USEA members that outlines clear and consistent guidelines for riders and trainers to refer to when navigating their way through the competition levels. You can access this guide by logging into your online services account.
Text has been taken directly from the USEF Rules for Eventing with emphasis added by the USEA.
For an additional description of the types of obstacles that may be presented at a given level, please refer to the USEA Cross-Country Obstacle Design Guidelines, which are not specifically incorporated by reference.
APPENDIX 1 - LEVELS OF HORSE TRIALS
5. Preliminary: The Preliminary Level is a moderate examination of competitors and horses in a regular training program preparing for Two Star Events.
a. Dressage: The dressage test may include medium paces at the trot and canter, as well as the
introduction of leg yielding, shoulder in, rein back, and changes of lead through the trot.
b. Cross-Country: The cross-country should include tests of accuracy, agility, boldness, control, judgment and jumping ability. Obstacles may be on a bounce distance.
c. Show Jumping: The jumping course must include either (i) two or three doubles; or (ii) a double and a triple combination.
6. Intermediate: The Intermediate Level is an examination of increasing technical difficulty, preparing competitors and horses for Three Star Events.
a. Dressage: The dressage test may include canter to halt and walk to canter transitions, as well as turns on the haunches, simple changes, counter canter and half pass.
b. Cross-Country: The cross-country should now combine in more elaborate settings the tests introduced at the Preliminary Level, such as combinations with more than one question to be solved.
c. Show Jumping: The jumping course must include either (i) a double and a triple combination; or (ii) three doubles, with more related distances, and technical questions than the preliminary.
7. Advanced: The Advanced Level is the highest national level of Horse Trials. It offers tests of significant difficulty designed to prepare competitors and horses for either Four or Five Star Events.
a. Dressage: The dressage test may include extensions in all three paces, half pass at the trot and/or
canter, and single flying changes.
b. Cross-Country: The cross-country should be clearly a test of boldness and scope as it now combines size with technical difficulty.
c. Show Jumping: The jumping course must include either (i) a double and a triple combination; or (ii) three doubles. The jumping course must be the most technical Division of the national competition.
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When super groom Max Corcoran mentioned in 2005 that it would be fun to participate in a USEA Classic Series event, her employer and eventing legend Karen O’Connor took that to heart. “I did a lot of grooming for the classic format when Kentucky and all those other competitions were proper long format,” Corcoran shared. “When Gretchen [Butts] started offering the Classic Series at Waredaca [Gaithersburg, Maryland,] she asked if I would come up and do some lectures to help people understand what the 10-minute box was and how to pack for it. I did that a few times and said to Karen, ‘Man, it would be so fun to do one of these.’ And so Karen's like, 'You want to do one? Yeah, you're gonna do one next year.'”
Has this horse quality? The answer is definitely yes. This first impression is so important. As a selector for the Goresbridge Go for Gold Event horse sale, I have an abbreviation ‘GPO’ which stands for "Good Pull Out." It means that the first look prompts the potential client the need to bring the horse out of his box for a further look.
It was a beautiful but chilly weekend in the pines at the Setters' Run Farm Carolina International. After a record-setting 19.4 in the CCI4*-S dressage, Will Coleman became the first three-time winner in the event's history when he led from start to finish on Hyperion Stud's Chin Tonic HS.
West Coast eventers experienced tremendous success in 2022. Tamie Smith recorded top-10 finishes at Badminton in England, at the FEI World Championships at Pratoni in Italy, and at the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill. Helen Alliston won the $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final, and Tommy Greengard captured the USEA Intermediate Championship at the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC), presented by Nutrena Feeds. James Alliston returned to the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event for the first time since 2017 and finished third in the CCI4*-S.