Eventing is essentially an equestrian triathlon, combining three different phases: Dressage, Cross Country, and Show Jumping.

This exciting international and Olympic sport has evolved from its origins as a military test of skill to a popular spectator attraction.  Eventing is unique in its demand for the partnership between horse and rider. The horse must complete the courses sight unseen. Only the rider gets to walk the course, so the horse must trust the rider completely to gallop boldly off huge drops, into water, over ditches and through combinations.
Dressage The grace and elegance of the Dressage, the speed, power and endurance of Cross Country, and the agility and precision of Show Jumping make Eventing heart pounding entertainment.


The Dressage phase begins every Eventing competition.  The term “dressage” comes from the French word meaning simply “to train.”  The dressage test consists of a set series of movements performed in an arena.  The degree of difficulty of the dressage test increases with each level of competition.  The purpose of the dressage test is to demonstrate communication and harmony between the horse and rider, and display the obedience, power and grace required to perform each movement.  A correct dressage foundation is important in the development of the event horse.  Dressage training is necessary to build the communication, muscular strength and suppleness needed for jumping and galloping phases of the event.

Cross Country

Cross Country, usually the second phase of an event, tests the horse and rider over varied terrain and obstacles, including water, ditches and banks.  The cross course must be negotiated within a time limit, testing obedience, jumping ability, bravery, and fitness.  The speed required and the length and difficulty of the course increase with each level of competition.  A rider’s knowledge of pace is essential in order for his horse to finish within the time limit and to use only as much of his horse’s energy as necessary.  At the more difficult levels, the horse must be capable of increasing demands on his endurance and agility. 


Show Jumping

The Show Jumping phase is generally the third and final phase of competition.  Horse and rider must jump a course of colored rails and obstacles in an arena.  Obedience, jumping ability and harmony between horse and rider are essential.  After two previous phases of competition, including a physically grueling cross country course, horse and rider must complete this last jumping test while trying not to incur additional penalties. This is a test of true stamina, as well as agility and precision.