What is Eventing?
(also known as horse trials) is an equestrian event where a single horse and rider combination compete against other combinations across the three disciplines of dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. This event has its roots in a comprehensive cavalry test requiring mastery of several types of riding. The competition may be run as a one-day event (ODE), where all three events are completed in one day (dressage, followed by show jumping and then cross-country) or a three-day event (3DE), which is more commonly now run over four days, with dressage on the first two days followed by cross-country the next day and then show jumping in reverse order on the final day. Eventing was previously known as Combined Training, and the name persists in many smaller organizations. The term "Combined Training" is sometimes confused with the term "Combined Test" which refers to a combination of just two of the phases, most commonly dressage and show jumping.
The dressage phase (held first) consists of an exact sequence of movements ridden in an enclosed arena (20-60m for International 3DE but usually 20-40m for ODE). The test is judged by one or more judges who are looking for balance, rhythm, suppleness, and most importantly, obedience of the horse and its harmony with the rider. The challenge is to demonstrate that a supremely fit horse, capable of completing the cross country phase on time, also has the training to perform in a graceful, relaxed and precise manner. Dressage work is the bases of all the other phases and disciplines within the sport of eventing because it develops the strength and balance that allow a horse to go cross country and show jump competently.
The next phase, cross-country, requires both horse and rider to be in excellent physical shape and to be brave and trusting of each other. This phase consists of approximately 12-20 fences (lower levels), or 30-40 at the higher levels, placed on a long outdoor circuit. These fences consist of very solidly built natural objects (telephone poles, stone walls, etc.) as well as various obstacles such as ponds and streams, ditches, drops and banks, and combinations including several jumping efforts based on objects that would commonly occur in the countryside. Sometimes, particularly at higher levels, fences are designed that would not normally occur in nature. However, these are still designed to be as solid as more natural obstacles. Safety regulations mean that some obstacles are now being built with a "frangible pin system", allowing part or all of the jump to collapse if hit with enough impact. Speed is also a factor, with the rider required to cross the finish line within a certain time frame (optimum time). Crossing the finish line after the optimum time results in penalties for each second over. At lower levels, there is also a speed fault time, where penalties are incurred for horse and rider pairs completing the course too quickly. For every "disobedience" (refusal or run-out of a jump) a horse and rider incur on course, penalties will be added to their dressage score. After four disobediences altogether or three disobediences at one fence the pair is eliminated, meaning they can no longer participate in the competition. A horse and rider pair can also be eliminated for going off course, for example missing a fence. If the horses shoulder and hind-quarter touch the ground, mandatory retirement is taken and they are not allowed to participate further in the competition. If the rider falls off the horse they are eliminated. However in the US this rule is currently being revised for the Novice level and below. The penalties for disobediences on cross-country are weighted severely relative to the other phases of competition to emphasize the importance of courage, endurance and athleticism. Fitness is required as the time allowed will require a strong canter at the lower levels, all the way to a strong gallop at the higher events.
Veterinary inspection, or "trot up"/ "horse inspection"
Before the beginning of a three-day event, and also before the last phase, horses are inspected by a vet to ensure that they are fit to compete further. It is usually a very formal affair, with well-groomed and braided horses, and nicely dressed riders. It is also a very nerve-racking time, as the "pass" or "fail" determines whether the horse may continue with the competition. A vet can request that a horse is sent to the holding box, when it will then be re-assessed before being allowed to continue. In upper level FEI classes, a second veterinarian (often called the Associate FEI Veterinarian) may inspect horses sent to the hold box and make the decision to pass or fail a horse. This practice is in place so that no one veterinarian has complete power to eliminate a horse and allows for a large number of horses to be evaluated in a timely manner. In lower levels of competition, the horseâ€™s movement may be analyzed as they finish the cross-country, where they will be asked to trot briefly after crossing the finishing line to satisfy the vet of their soundness.
Ten minute box
The "Ten Minute Box" is designed to give the horse a rest, to cool down, and stabilize its vitals. After ten minutes in the box, a veterinarian inspects the horse to determine if it is fit to compete in the show jumping.
Show jumping tests the technical jumping skills of the horse and rider, including suppleness, obedience, fitness and athleticism. In this phase, 12-20 fences are set up in a ring. These fences are typically brightly colored and consist of elements that can be knocked down, unlike cross country obstacles. This phase is also timed, with penalties being given for every second over the required time. In addition to normal jumping skills, eventing show jumping tests the fitness and stamina of the horse and rider, generally being held after the cross-country phase in higher level and international events.
Additional information for our Visitors
We, the organization and all the volunteers who enable us to organise this happening, give you a warm welcome to the second edition of the North Holland Horse Trials and thank you for the interest you have shown in our event.
In order of a flawless and safe event we have a set of rules where everyone should be committed to. We ask for your special attention to these rules:
- For each person / user apply the following rules during the event:
- The person who causes damage to the premises and / or the property is always responsible for (the amount of) the caused damage
- In all public (covered) areas and stable complexes Smoking is prohibited
- Keep the area clean; Throw trash away in the appropriate containers on the premises
- Dogs are only allowed if they are leashed
- Stable Complexes and saddle areas are not open to public
- Parking only at the appropriate locations shown by the parking attendants
- During the cross country it is not allowed to enter the course. There is a route for spectators
- Spectators should behave quietly and move only on public trails.
- Ask children not to run and / or scream. A horse’s nature is to run away.
Thank you for your cooperation and have lots of fun!