Eventing is a discipline that can be compared to triathlon.
Indeed, the discipline is composed of 3 tests:
- Dressage: The horse rider and horse pair perform around twenty compulsory figures in an arena measuring 60mx20m. A jury assess the test on a scale out of 10 (where ten is the best grade).
- Cross-country: This test is specific to Eventing. The horse rider and its horse must jump over fixed and natural obstacles of different profiles in a varied terrain (forest, water, plains…). The route is long and must be done in a high speed, which is why this test is spectacular but can also be dangerous for the horse and the rider.
- Jumping: 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. As this test is held after the cross-country phase, show jumping tests the fitness and stamina of the horse and rider.
The final ranking is made from the total points obtained during the three tests (the pair with the lowest total win). The total is made from the dressage grade added to the penalties received during cross-country and show jumping (refusal, time over the imposed time, knock downs in show jumping…). If a rider fell during one of the tests or if the horse does three refusals, the pair is eliminated from the competition and cannot participate to the other tests.
During international competition, tests are split in several days. As the difficulty of the tests are high, two horse inspections made by the official veterinaries of the competition. The first inspection is made before the first test (dressage) to ensure that the horse is healthy and can participate to the competition. The second one is after cross-country, to check if the horse is not injured after cross-country and that it is not too tired to participate to the last phase (show jumping).
- CCI : Concours Complet International (ratings for the equestrian sport of Eventing, given by the international governing body for the sport, the FEI)
- 1*, 2*, 3*, 4*, 5*: The number of stars indicate the level of the competition (5* is the highest level)
- S and L: S means short and L means long, an indication of the distance of the cross-country route. To sum up, a CCI3-S is an international competition with a 3 stars level and a short distance cross-country.