Judging by Kim Bjorgo-Thorne
Eventing is the ultimate test of a horse and rider. The USEA oversees three types of eventing: Tests, Horse Trials, and Three-Day events. The Event Test and Horse Trials typically are more common and have wider participation than Three-Day events. The three phases – dressage, cross-country, and stadium jumping, allow the horse and rider to demonstrate the strength of their training, mental preparedness, and ability to work together. The roads and tracks section of a Three-Day event also tests the endurance level of both athletes.
The FEI and USEA both oversee all levels of eventing. The levels of eventing start with beginner novice and move to novice, training, modified, preliminary, intermediate, and advanced. In the Three-Day event, there are four levels indicated by stars- training level, one-star, all the way to five-star which is for international-level riders and horses. During cross-country, the jump numbers and letters are color-coded to match these levels. In that way, the rider knows which jump option to take based on the color of the number itself and the background. The jumps in cross-country are often referred to as “questions”. Each jump is numbered and marked with a red flag on the right and a white flag on the left. Although jumps must be taken sequentially, there are often different options to “answer the question”. Each rider must evaluate the jump scenario during the pre-event course walk and decide if they will take the safer option or the time-saving but more technical option.
As far as equipment goes, all riders must wear helmets when mounted. English tack is required. During cross-country, riders often choose colorful saddle pads and leg protection in their personal colors or that of their team. Otherwise brown tack (or black for dressage) is used. One of the quirky things about eventing is that each horse must be wearing its show number all the time while under saddle. During jumping, a mounted rider must also wear a medical card on their upper arm or a bracelet on their wrist. Body-protecting vests are required for warmup and during cross-country. During cross-country and stadium jumping, a running martingale with bit stops is permitted, and use of a breastplate, particularly a 5-point attachment, is common. During the dressage test, a snaffle bridle or double bridle (curb and bridoon bits) is permitted, depending on the level of the test.
Emma W., IL
Here we have a calm horse, with the rider in control. The jump is appropriately flagged and numbered. Our rider is wearing a body protector vest and number. The rider’s hands are good and her eyes are up looking at fence. The horse does need leg protection, however.
Ella S., PA
This is a nice training-level entry. The horse is confident and balanced. It has leg protection that matches the saddle pad. Unfortunately, there are no flags on the jump and no jump number is visible. No competitor number is visible on the horse.
Emily B., VA
Another forward-moving horse and rider where the rider is wearing a body protector vest. The horse needs a competitor number. The jump is appropriately flagged. Either trimming the grass with scissors or using an area with smaller-bladed grass or dirt could improve this entry. The perspective on this photo is very nice.
Ayda M., WA
This may be the Roads and Tracks phase of cross-country because the rider is not wearing a safety vest, but our horse still needs a number. The horse appears calm and forward. The horse needs leg protection.
Camilla M., CT
This entry features another forward-moving and engaged horse, with its rider holding the reins and looking towards the upcoming jump. Our horse needs an identifying number and leg protection. The jump also needs flags and numbers. I would like to see a more correct bridle, but the tack is in-scale with the horse and the jump.
Chloe W., SC
Here we have a nice, engaged horse where the rider is applying more leg to encourage the horse. The horse needs leg protection and a competitor number. The jump is not flagged or numbered and should have jump cups rather than fixed rails.
Julia G., OH
This horse and rider are approaching the jump. In this interesting view, we see a focused horse and a rider concentrating on the next fence. The horse is a touch deep in the corner of the fence.
Alissa B., IN
Here we have a rider jumping in the warmup ring. The rider has a helmet but has dropped the contact. The jump looks like every practice jump I’ve ever seen- good job! Adjust the reins and martingale and make sure doll is looking up and forward. Add flags and numbers to your jump if you want to make it part of the stadium jumping phase.
Rebecca G., MA
In this entry, we see that the tack is in scale, the horse has its number, the rider is wearing a body protector vest and has her safety card. The horse is forward through the water and has its ears back listening to its rider. The rider is focused and looking ahead. The splashing water is a nice feature.
Lauren M., FL
A close second - the tack here is not quite as in-scale as the first place horse. The horse appears willing and forward, is wearing leg protection, and it is in a good position relative to the jump. The horse does not have a number, but it could be on the near side and out of view in the image. The jump is appropriately flagged and numbered.
Shana B., WA
In this entry, the horse is calm and forward, the tack is in-scale and leg protection is in place. The horse could be a touch farther back from the obstacle. The horse does not have a number, but the jump is correctly flagged and numbered.
Terry B., NC
In this entry, the rider is appropriate and has good hands and head position. The horse has leg protection all the way around but lacks a number. The jump should be numbered on the right side, and that is not evident. The tack is in-scale and appropriate. I would like to see the rider’s head a little higher, as if she looking farther out along the course towards the next obstacle.
Sara B., MI
Our jumping horse looks very professional, it is in the correct position over the jump, and its tack is correct for this phase and in-scale. There is good contact on the reins. Even though this is the jumping course, the horse would still be wearing leg protection in the form of brushing boots. There does not appear to be a number on horse, unless it is on its near side. The jump is correct and flagged appropriately. I would like to see one of the two horizontal poles as a ground line, and the crossed elements raised a bit higher.
Liisa E., IL
Here we have a very forward horse, but it appears as though the rider is not in control of the reins. There is no number on the horse. It is, however, wearing leg protection on all four legs, and the leg protection is color-coordinated with rider’s vest.
Kayla L., ME
A solid entry, with appropriate tack that is in-scale. This horse is appropriately numbered and is wearing leg protection, but it seems a touch out of scale. The rider is looking at the ground, not ahead, which will unbalance the horse. Most importantly, the jump rails should be in cups, not fixed to the jump.
Kim would like to thank everyone for a great show! Our August Photo Show is right around the corner, so get those cameras ready - check back next week for the grand reveal of our next theme.