Eventing is a triathlon for horses. It was originally designed to test military chargers who needed to be fearless and fast across the battlefield as well as elegant and obedient on the parade ground. Modern Eventing has evolved into an exciting sport that attracts interest and participation from all levels of sports enthusiasts from weekend hobby riders to professional horsemen and Olympic stars.
In a modern Eventing competition, commonly known as a "horse trials" or simply as an "event," horse and rider compete in a three-part test, each part called a "phase." Penalty points from each of the three phases are totaled, and at the end of all three phases, the lowest score wins the division. Competitors enter their horses in different levels based on the horse and rider's ability and past performance.
The First test is called a "dressage" test. Dressage is a French word meaning training. Originally designed to show the horse's capability on the parade ground in performing various movements involved with reviewing troops, today the dressage test comprises a set series of complicated movements performed in an enclosed arena. Precision, smoothness, suppleness and complete obedience show off the horse's gymnastic development. Ideally it should look as if the horse is performing of its own accord, carrying its rider in complete harmony. The test is scored on each movement, rather like the scoring in figure skating, and the overall harmony and precision of the whole exercise are taken into consideration.
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In it are a few books which he wrote himself,
but most of them were written for him
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The second discipline in the three-day event is the cross-country test. The object of the cross-country test is to prove the speed, endurance and jumping ability of the true cross-country horse when he is well trained and brought to the peak of condition. At the same time, it demonstrates the rider's knowledge of pace and the use of this horse across country. The cross-country phase of the event is the heart of the sport and counts most in the scoring. The rider gallops the horse over a set course, jumping fences that have been built to blend into the land so that they seem like natural obstacles. The fences ask questions and, in so doing, test the horse's ability to jump uphill or downhill, drop into or out of water; go through differing light conditions, or deal with changes in footing and terrain.
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The third and final test takes place in the jumping arena. The show jumping fences are brightly colored and are made of rails that will fall when hit. The show jumping courses are designed to test the horse's and the rider's ability to negotiate a variety of fences of differing heights, widths, and technicality. This requires the horse to be balanced and supple for tight turns and short distances between fences. He must be able to lengthen or shorten his stride in an instant. Therefore, the rider must know exactly where he is on the approach to a fence, and have an obedient horse that will respond to his commands. For the spectator, this sport is both exciting and breathtaking to watch, as just one single rail knocked down can change the standings dramatically.
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For more information regarding the sport of Eventing, visit The United States Eventing Association's web site (www.useventing.com). This site has all the information including the complete listing of rules and scoring.