Originally developed in the cavalries of Europe as a test of the ideal military charger, Eventing has now evolved into an exciting sport attracting interest from all levels of sports enthusiasts. Eventing is a three-phase equestrian sport designed to test the horse and rider’s versatility, fitness, and stamina. Each phase (Dressage, Cross-Country, and Show Jumping) addresses certain elements of the all-around horse. Penalties are incurred in each phase and the horse/rider pair with the fewest penalties at the completion of the last phase are deemed the winners.
Competitions start with the dressage phase. The French term for “training”, Dressage is essential to the three-day event horse as it helps to develop the muscular strength, suppleness, obedience, and maneuverability needed in the other two phases. Horse and rider perform a prescribed pattern of movements and are scored on accuracy, obedience, suppleness, and execution. The dressage phase is the starting point for the remainder of the competition as the score earned here can determine where you finish.
Cross-Country is the second phase of an eventing competition. The object of this phase is to prove the speed, endurance, and jumping ability of the horse over varied terrain and obstacles. Horses and riders must be in peak condition to run cross-country well and not incur any time or jumping penalties. The horse must be bold, smart, and obedient and the rider must have knowledge of pace and a good plan to navigate the course. Horses are asked to jump a variety of obstacles including logs, cabins, drops and banks, gallop through water, and over brush. The entire course is timed and riders who come in within the time allotted with no jump penalties move on with their original Dressage score.
The final phase of an eventing competition is the Stadium Jumping phase. While similar to a traditional show jumping course the purpose of Eventing stadium jumping is entirely different. This phase is designed to demonstrate that, after a test of endurance, the horse has retained suppleness, energy, and obedience to the rider. The objective is to leave all the obstacles up and finish the course in the allowed time. A double clear round here adds no penalties to the pair’s Dressage score. The horse and rider combination with the lowest total score after Show Jumping is the winner.
Eventing in Pony Club
Since the introduction of Pony Club in the United States, our Traditional Standards of Proficiency have been rooted in the Eventing discipline. Traditional Certifications still require members to perform a dressage test appropriate for their level, ride in the open over varied terrain, and jump both solid, cross country style obstacles and a stadium course. A Traditional Certification requires the same all-around, balanced training program as Eventing.
Eventing in Pony Club is very similar to eventing at USEA competitions with the exception of being part of a team. The ridden competition runs exactly like a regular event but the Horse Management component is added in as well. Riders compete on teams of three or four riders and a Stable Manager. Members have the opportunity to qualify for USPC National Championships every year by completing their regional eventing rally and a USEA recognized Horse Trial at their chosen level. Pony Club also offers many awards for excellence in eventing.