The Disciplines of Dressage, Showjumping & Cross Country
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A quick overview


Hector Payne Nunner cross country 2018Introduction

Eventing could be described as an “equestrian triathlon.” Horse and rider complete 3 phases, first dressage, then show jumping and finally a cross country jumping test, in a single competition to achieve the lowest penalty score. Eventing is also known by the term 'horse trials' which is what the sport used to be referred to (and sometimes still is) as a reference to the three tests ('trials') that make up the competition.


Over the centuries our sport has developed from the test of the ideal military charger into an exciting sport that attracts interest from all levels of sports enthusiasts, from weekend hobby riders to professional international stars.


British Eventing regulates and oversees the running of all British Eventing affiliated competitions in the UK (except for Northern Ireland) and publish their annual fixtures calendar in early November for the following season.  'The Season' runs from March to October but outside those months BE also organises training competitions known as the Winter Series. 



Entry level competition (based on the heights of the jumps) is known as BE80(T) meaning the jumping phase is at 80cm and the jumping courses are relatively simple to negotiate. The (T) stands for Training as at this level coaches are on hand at the event to provide advice and lead course walks for the jumping parts of the competition. The dressage test too is relatively simple with mostly circles and transitions forming the main elements of a test.  

Progressing up the levels the tasks asked of the partnership become gradually more intricate and the level of difficulty increases with the ultimate challenge being 4* such as Badminton or Burghley Horse Trials.  Dedication with lots of training and practice whilst keeping your equine athlete sound and happy is what makes this sport so special.  The rider must be able to assess not only their own abilities and progression but also those of their horse in order that the horse is ready to take on the challenge.

What makes the sport so enjoyable however is the thrill and satisfaction of completing the competition to the best of your ability and perhaps even picking up a rosette whilst having competed against some of our sport's star riders.  

Read more about the specific levels on our page Eventing Explained.


Our people

Competitions take place at various venues, from large country estates to farms to equestrian centres and even at National Trust properties in some instances.  Organising and running a BE affiliated event depends on a lot of dedicated people to make it all happen on the day.  Long before the first competitor sets a hoof in the ring much has been done to get them there. The cross country course takes months and months of preparation, the ground needs constant attention and the management of the many volunteers who come on the day to help run and adjudicate the competition. Read more about all the people involved on 'Our People' from organisers, BE officials, owners and volunteers. 

To help you prepare for competition there are training courses up and down the country and if you wish to compete you'll have to become a member first.  We have easy options into membership starting with Day Pass membership.   


View this short video on 'Getting Started' in our sport


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Phone: 02476 698856