Having the most agile and resistant horses for any type of combat – that is the philosophy that gave rise to the Equestrian discipline of Eventing, the most demanding in the sport. Its origin goes back to Europe, where soldiers competed to test how their horses would react to different situations.
Even with a reduction in armed conflicts, the sport tended to grow. The first official competition was held in France in 1902, and the sport became popular in countries such as Australia and New Zealand, as well as in North America.
In 1912, Eventing entered the Equestrian programme at the Stockholm Olympic Games, alongside the Jumping and Dressage events.
Eventing involves both individual and team events. It is considered an equestrian “Triathlon,” as it combines Dressage, Cross Country and Jumping. Eventing takes place over more than one day, and demands strength, stamina, balance and concentration.
The first event is Dressage, which may last up to two days depending on the number of competing athletes. Riders and their horses are evaluated for their harmonious movements by a judging committee.
The next competition is Cross Country, in which participants need to jump over rustic obstacles (42 to 45 jumps, some of which may be combined) in open air, in a given time and with the smallest number of penalties.
The final part of eventing is a jumping competition test that involves 11 to 13 obstacles with no more than 16 jumps, 1.25 m high, with results won by teams. The 25 best riders take part in a second jumping round, with a maximum of nine obstacles and 12 jumps, 1.30 m high, to determine individual results.
Throughout the competitions, negative points for each rider and horse are accumulated. The winner of the event is the rider with the fewest penalties overall. Teams are made up of five participants each, and the two worst results are discarded.