Monday, June 21, 2010

Notes on Eventing, Part One

This is the first in a four part series of eventing articles by Texas hobbyist, Jamie Stine. In addition to riding dressage, Jamie has groomed jumpers, eventers and upper level dressage horses.
With only a few exceptions, the photographs accompanying Jamie's articles were taken by me at the Colorado Horse Park CCI and Horse Trials, held this month at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado.

Some Notes on Eventing

by Jamie Stine

Part One, Overview

So you’ve decided to try entering your model in an eventing setup! Mostly what we think of when we talk about eventing is Cross Country, so that’s what I’m going to focus on, but I’ll talk about other aspects of the sport as well. I will assume you know what eventing (3-day, horse trials, combined training, combined tests, etc) is. If not, the simplified version is that eventing is a combination of Dressage, Show jumping, and Cross Country, originally designed as a test of cavalry horses.

Dressage is the same as regular dressage, except that it’s common, especially at the lower levels, for riders to show only in one saddle. You may use an all-purpose or jump saddle for eventing dressage, and breastplates are also allowed. No boots or martingales are to be used, and the bit must be a snaffle at the lower levels. Once you get to the international (CCI*) level, you may use a full bridle with a plain cavesson for your dressage test. Snaffle bridles may have a flash, figure eight, crank, or plain caveson, or may carry a flash attachment. Riders must wear an SEI approved helmet until they get to CCI* level or above, where a tailcoat and top hat are optional. Please note, top hats for eventing riders tend to be taller in the crown and slightly narrower in the brim than traditional top hats for dressage riders. Tail-coats may have canary points or the rider may use colored points, though these are very very rarely seen.

Amy Tryon on Poggio II

Show jumping is also similar to regular show jumping, and again, any combination of boots, breastcollar, bridle, and martingale may be used. No standing martingales are allowed though.
Karen O'Connor on Theodore O'Connor

Cross-country is a beast of it’s own. Cross-country is where the monster fences and the speed are, and the name of the game here is safety. Even at the lower levels, a body protector and helmet are mandatory, and the USAE/USCTA require that each rider, from green as grass to CCI****, wear an ID card with health information and emergency contacts on one arm while running cross country OR show jumping. The rider and horse must be as safe as possible while galloping (at speeds often more than 450 meters per minute) over unpredictable footing and jumping fences as high as 3’11” with spreads up to 6’.

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