Eventing is the culmination of three equestrian disciplines (dressage, cross country, and stadium jumping) within a single competition that requires both horse and rider to be not only experienced, but proficient, in all in order to succeed. This equestrian triathlon of sorts find it's roots in the training and testing of military horses in order to prove their ability to remain in service. Although no longer implemented for original purposes, the tradition lives on as a sanctioned event during the Olympic Games.
Dressage - A predetermined pattern of movements that tests obedience, precision, and elegance. Horse and Rider are scored on the ability to properly execute a series of movements similar to a gymnastics or figure skating routine.
Cross Country @ the Water Complex (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Cross Country - The focal point of the competition revolves around this phase where the Horse and Rider complete a demanding cross country course that implements the natural terrain and a series of solid and formidable obstacles. Stretching several miles, this phase is a test of stamina, versatility, courage, and brute endurance. Penalties are assessed for refusals and inability to complete the course within a predetermined optimum time.
Stadium - The competition culminates with stadium jumping in which the Horse and Rider complete a course of fences within an enclosed arena. Penalties are amassed when horses refuse to jump, the rider falls off, inability to make the optimum time, or dropping jump rails. This phase tests resilience and agility.