The 2020 competition season will be getting underway in short order down in sunny Florida. For those snowbirds headed south, it means sending in entries, memorizing dressage tests, and preparing to leave the start box while those in the North wait for the temperatures to warm up by planning their goals for the upcoming season.
The third phase of eventing is show jumping, where horses and riders demonstrate their ability to continue with the competition after the grueling cross-country test. A jumping course consisting of colored rails is set and horse and rider must navigate the course without knocking down the fences and incurring penalties.
There are many rules that dictate the cross-country obstacles, from the height of the roof above a fence to the types of flags that must be used on certain types of jumps. It is important to understand these rules so that, as a competitor, you can be aware of what is and is not permitted on the cross-country course.
The cross-country test is what sets eventing apart as a sport. Horses and riders ride across the country, demonstrating “speed, endurance, and jumping ability” while negotiating obstacles including banks, ditches, and water. Penalties accrued during this phase are added to the penalty score carried forward from dressage.
Dressage tests contain a set of movements to be performed by horse and rider in front of a judge who then gives each movement a mark out of 10. Following the completion of the test, the total number of good marks are divided by the total possible good marks to achieve a percentage, which is then subtracted from 100 to achieve a penalty score.
It is a common misconception that you must enter a popular event at midnight on the opening date to ensure your place on the entry list. All entries received from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on the opening date of the event are all treated as received at the same time.
The dressage test is the first of the three phases in eventing. Intended to demonstrate "the harmonious development of the physique and ability of the horse," the dressage test contains a prescribed list of movements to be carried out in front of a judge, or judges, and which is then given a penalty score that horse and rider carry through to the end of the competition.
Dressage, cross-country, and show jumping – the three phases that make up the sport of eventing. Whether you’re new to eventing or have been a competitor in the sport for many years, it is important to be familiar with the purpose and intent of each of the three phases and the rules by which a winner is selected.
The best way to ensure a successful start to the season is to make sure you achieve the necessary qualifications to achieve the goals you set for the year. To help you prepare, we are taking a look at Appendix 3 – Participation in Horse Trials.