Origin of Equestrian Eventing

The Origin of Equestrian Eventing Competitions

The origin of equestrian eventing is based in a comprehensive cavalry test requiring riders to master several ridden disciplines.

It originated within the military and the purpose was to create a competition where officers and horses could be tested for any challenge that might occur on or off duty.

It also provided a basic comparison for training standards between the cavalries of different countries.

The first modern eventing competition was held at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm (SWE).

It lasted for five days and the order of tests was quite different from todays equestrian eventing competitions.

  • Speed and endurance came first
  • followed by a rest day
  • then the steeplechase, showjumping and dressage phases.
There are Two Types of Modern Equestrian Eventing Competitions …

Eventing Steeplechase Icon

With steeplechase in the Cross Country phase …

Both modern competitions comprise three distinct tests: Dressage, Cross-Country and Showjumping and they take place on separate consecutive days; with the competitor riding the same horse throughout.

However the, ‘with steeplechase competition‘, includes the steeplechase and the roads & tracks in the full cross-country phase.


Eventing Steeplechase Icon

Without steeplechase in the Cross Country phase …

The ‘without steeplechase competitions‘ include the same three phases, but the Cross Country test does not include Phases B & C (steeplechase and roads & tracks).

Phase A, (Roads & Track warmup), which comes before the Cross Country Obstacle Test, is also optional.

Modern equestrian eventing competitions can take place over one, two or three days.

The Dressage test always takes place first and either the cross country or showjumping tests can be the last phase.

Mandatory registration of all horses and riders competing in FEI Eventing competitions was introduced on 1 January 2003; and all eventing competitors in British Eventing (BE) competitions have to be BE members or hold a valid day ticket for that equestrian eventing competition.