We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

In the Equestrian World, what is Eventing?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Three-day eventing, sometimes referred to as a “horse triathlon,” is a grueling event designed to test the training, ability, and strength of a horse, along with the connection between horse and rider. Eventing is also called “combined training,” because it integrates dressage, endurance, and show jumping, three equestrian disciplines which are typically kept separate. An eventing horse is a rare and extremely talented athlete with a strong connection with and loyalty to his or her rider.

The roots of eventing lie in testing military horses, which had to posses the highly disciplined traits of a dressage horse, the endurance of a cross country steeplechaser, and the suppleness and attention to form required for show jumping. Each phase of a three day event is called a “test,” because it tests the abilities of horse and rider, and each test is judged on a time trial. If horse and rider fail to complete a test in time, they are automatically disqualified.

The first day of a three-day event focuses on dressage, an equestrian art form which requires a supple, highly trained horse. During a dressage test, horse and rider move as one through a series of fluid moves in a ring. To the untrained eye, dressage resembles dancing, and it requires great physical control and grace. The dressage portion of eventing limbers the horse for the following two days, and it is judged on overall form, which includes how well the dressage test flows, and how well turned out horse and rider are.

The second and most difficult day of the event is endurance/cross country, which starts with roads and tracks, an exercise at a light trot designed to stretch and warm up the horse. The horse proceeds directly to the steeplechase portion of the test, which involves six to eight jumps on a long course, and follows with another round of roads and tracks to cool down. After this point, the horse is checked for soundness by a veterinarian. If the horse is deemed unfit to compete, it is withdrawn. Otherwise, the horse enters the cross country phase, an exhilarating and challenging course through highly varied terrain and over an assortment of obstacles, undertaken at a gallop.

On the third day, the horse is examined again by a veterinary crew before being allowed to compete in the final test, show jumping. Show jumping is performed in a ring, and judged on form. It also tests the horse's ability and willingness to compete after the first two days of the event. Judges look for horses which move fluidly through the ring, do not reject jumps, and work in harmony with their riders to complete the course.

At the end of an eventing competition, the horse and rider teams are judged using a point system, which takes form into account, along with the amount of time it took to complete each course. As with many equestrian sports, a number of people and horses of all ages and abilities compete in eventing, but the field is dominated by a handful of equine superstars who are at the peak of condition and training. Observing high-performance eventing horses in action is a rare privilege.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.