Horse trials and eventing
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There are historic documents on hunting dating back to the Middle Ages which show and explain how riders negotiated natural obstacles and even in the 4th Century BC, Xenophon wrote instructions on how to jump natural obstacles. Eventing as a competitive sport was derived from the need for a military horseman to be a jack of all equestrian trades. The cavalryman needed to have endurance for long distance riding between barracks or even battles, the courage and speed to gallop into the charge and to negotiate fences or rough ground. To jump large fences if necessary and to have dressage skills to use their horse as an offensive weapon and perform drills and parades. The event horse and rider must have ability in every discipline. The Event horse is the true equine athlete. Eventing in my opinion is the best fun. Novilheiro, a classicaly trained Lusitano.

Whether event riders like it or not, a good dressage score can win or loose an event. Dressage can be fun. I have met too many unsuccessful event riders who think the dressage phase of the event is a bore and something that must be endured before the good fun starts across country.

Riders aiming to compete in a full three-day event must be as tough and fit as their horses. They should have strong nerves, stamina and powers of concentration. On the other hand they must also be sensitive and have an understanding of dressage or flat work. A stiff rider with unsympathetic hands or an insecure seat will have a negative influence over the jumps and the horse will not produce the speed or accuracy needed to win.

The Dressage phase. can help you achieve that high score that will lift you both in confidence and skill to complete the rest of the phases without pressure. There is nothing quite like being in the lead right from the beginning of an event. There is no catching up to be done.

For the Roads and Tracks (the endurance phase) the horse requires control and stamina. The trot is at 220 metres per minute and an easy canter, 350 metres per minute. If your horse is super fit and ready for the fast phases, you want control without having to pull or over use the reins. Your horse must bear your weight efficiently so that you can conserve his energy for the phases to come. All achieved from working a horse on the flat (dressage).

For the Steeplechase phase your horse must be able stretch over the ground and take the fences in a rhythm. The horse canters novice class 640 metres per minute and in open classes 690 metres per minute, 'basculing' into the rider's hands without pulling. Most steeplechase courses are round an oval. The understanding of the inside leg into the outside rein is essential to maintain tempo and position on the course. Once again, only achieved from basic working on the flat (dressage).

The Cross-Country phase needs all the skill the rider can muster to take his horse around the jumps. The rider bears a great responsibility towards his horse. If he feels the horse tiring, he should reduce speed and bring the horse more on to the aids. Helping your horse through the exercises and training you have both learnt in your dressage preparation.

For the Show Jumping phase, once again, training on the flat will prepare your horse so that he has all the skills to move around the arena so you present your horse to the jump in balance and the correct stride to give him the best possible chance clear the obstacles without problems.

By following our lessons with email back-up, by letting us know if you are having problems with your training, you will be giving your horse and yourself the trainer and rider the best chance of winning and enjoying Event riding.

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