Eventing - What's involved and how to get in to it?

If you have ever wanted to try Eventing but not sure where to start, our Equetech Guide to Eventing might just help give you the inside track on what the sport is all about.

What's involved in one day event?


First up you will need to do a BE dressage test of around four and a half minutes. These tests are similar to those you may have maybe done with BD but are a set of tests for eventing world. It is likely (venue dependant) that you will do your dressage test on grass, so a its a great idea to make sure before the day of the competition that you have practised riding on grass to avoid any balance issues or inadvertently leaving the arena due to lack of steering.

Show jumping

The show jumping phase is next and the courses are built to be encouraging and flowing with around 7-10 coloured numbered obstacles, normally including one double combination and at least three spreads. This may be vary from venue to venue, or if you are doing an unaffiliated competition but the courses at the lower levels are designed to give riders a confident jumping round. The show jumping phase may also be on grass, so it is also worth practising some SJ on grass at home if you can. If you live close to the venue and the organisers allow it might be worth heading to the venue the day before your competition to walk both your SJ and XC courses, this will give you a chance to see the courses and work out exactly how you plan to ride them.

Cross Country

The final phase is the cross country and the course should again be designed to be encouraging and will normally include water (at the lower levels this will be a simple run in and out). You can expect to jump between 18-25 rustic style fences. There will be an optimum time for the XC phase and your job is to jump each of the fences and make it through the finishing flags as close to the optimum time as possible. Before you first one day event we would recommend you go XC schooling somewhere to make sure you horse is comfortable in wide open spaces, and it is also a good chance to practise elements of XC that you might not have had the chance to ride before for example the water, ditches and steps.

On the day don't forget…

  • Your horse's vaccination card/passport
  • Your hat - this must be inspected and tagged at your first event
  • Your number bit

Head to the secretary's tent with your vaccination card/passport and hat as soon as you arrive. Here you can collect your number and programme, pay your start fee and check your start times.

It is a good idea to work out where the dressage, showjumping and cross-country are located so that you can find your bearings and know how long it will take to get between them.

If possible walk the cross-country the day before to free up more time on the day of the event. You can usually walk the course from 2pm the afternoon prior to competing but you would need to check this with the event organisers.

What should I wear?

Correct turnout for the dressage and show jumping is based on traditional hunting attire, which is then modified for the cross-country phase. For some more ideas on what to wear check out the Equetech What to Wear Guide.

A riding hat should be worn and your hat must be up to current standards. If you are eventing with British Eventing your hat must be tagged - this can be done at the secretary's tent. For the XC phase your hat must not have a fixed peak.

Customise your look!

For your XC it's time to have some fun with your outfit, and select some XC colours to suit you and your horse so your friends and family will be able to spot you out on course and capture that all important photo or video of you jumping round. Check out the Equetech Custom Cross County Shirt range, with 5 different base colours (black, navy, green, white and royal blue) and sleeve patterns and colours of your choice you can even have your name put on the sleeve. You can also match your Custom Cross Country Shirt with a Custom Cross Country Hat silk.

A one day event is the ultimate test for you and your horse but the most important thing to to HAVE FUN. There are lots more eventing tips on the British Eventing website, you could join a local Riding Club or attend local clinics and camps near you to get some more tips to make sure you are fully prepared for the big day!