Since I assume most of the readers of this blog are not horse people, I thought I would take the opportunity to introduce the amazing sport that I am spending this year learning all about. I compete my lease pony, Ella, in eventing, which consists of three phases: dressage, show jumping, and cross country.
In dressage, you ride a set pattern, called a test, and are judged on a variety of factors including the quality of your horse’s movement, overall harmony and balance, and your accuracy in riding the pattern. While it may seem simple, good dressage is very difficult as you have to train your horse to use the correct muscles to carry themselves and stay soft and rideable. It is currently Ella and my weakest phase, so I have been spending a lot of time in my training working on getting her stronger and more rideable.
In show jumping, you ride over a set course of jumps made of poles inside an enclosed ring, You receive penalty points if you knock poles, if your horse refuses a jump, or if you exceed the optimum time. Ella is a jumping superstar, so as long as I help keep her in a good balance that she can easily jump from, we don’t run into issues in the show jumping.
The final phase, cross country, is most eventers’ favorite part. It requires you to gallop through open fields and woods over a course of solid obstacles. Ella absolutely loves cross country, and the main issue I have is making her listen to me and slow down for the jumps when I ask because she thinks galloping is so much fun!
It is a huge challenge getting your horse trained up to be able to succeed in all three phases in one day, but that is what I love about eventing. There are always things to be working on to improve your performance since you need to be able to do so much well to be successful.