The Eventing competition involves three phases – Dressage, Cross Country and Show Jumping – and is an all round test of the horse and rider. The competition tests athleticism, strength, endurance, obedience, accuracy and bravery. Penalty scores are awarded for each of the three phases so that the competitor with the lowest overall penalty score wins.
Eventing Show Jumping scores are being regularly updated in the first round of show jumping which decides the team medals.
The diagram shows the format of the overall competition and how the team and individual competitions are run within a single competition.
For anybody who is familiar with non-Olympic competitions that are normally run in the one or three day formats, the key difference is that there are two show jumping rounds.
- the first round decides the team competition and is also a qualifier for the second show jumping round
- the second round decides the individual result.
The three phases test different aspects of the horse and rider
- Dressage is a series of pre-defined movements performed in a 20m x 60m arena and judged by a number of judges around the outside of the arena. (I have not been able to find out how many judges will be judging the Eventing dressage tests.) Dressage demonstrates that the horse is supple, balanced, obedient and in harmony with the rider. Judges score each movement out of 10 and mark the overall impression of the test. This total score is then converted to penalty points ready to be added to the penalties from the cross country and show jumping phases.
- Cross Country is a 5.7km (approx) course with between 42 and 45 jumping “efforts” that will completed in approximately 10 minutes at a speed of 570 meters/min = 21 mph. A single jump may be a combination fence made up of several jumping efforts. The jumps are solid natural fences that do not fall down (except in emergencies). Penalties are incurred for refusals and exceeding the optimum time. The course test the horse and riders fitness, stamina, strength and bravery.
- Show Jumping is performed the day after the cross country over a course of coloured fences. Penalties are incurred for knocking down the fence, refusals or exceeding the optimum time. Show Jumping tests that the horse is still fit enough to precisely and accurately jump obstacles the day after the cross country course.
Competitors cross country start times are now available with the competitors bib number, dressage score and rank.
The health and welfare of the horses is extremely important so there is a Horse Inspection before the competition starts and also the day after the strenuous Cross Country phase. If a horse does not pass the vet’s inspection it is not allowed to proceed in the competition.