Eventing Explained - A Spectator's Guide to the USEA American Eventing Championships pres. by Land Rover and Nutrena®

Aug 23, 2017 - 3:52 PM
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Photo courtesy of USEA

So, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships (AECs) presented by Land Rover and Nutrena® coming up during Labor Day Weekend at Tryon International Equestrian Center. We’re so excited to welcome this championship equestrian event back to the venue for a second year!

Want to be a part of the action, but not sure what “eventing” entails? Don’t worry! We have you covered with an overall description of the three events that comprise the thrilling equestrian discipline of eventing.

The best way to describe eventing is a triathlon of equestrian sport, which includes three phases – dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. Horse and rider have to be in tip-top shape to complete all three phases over the course three days – one event per day.

A fun fact you may not know is that eventing is also one of the few Olympic sports where men and women compete on equal terms.

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Photo courtesy of USEA

Now that you know the overall concept, let’s dive into what each event entails… and what you’ll get to see when the AECs come to Tryon!

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Photo courtesy of USEA

1. Dressage

Dressage is a test of the horse and rider’s connection and communication with each other. The pair will complete a pre-determined pattern in an enclosed arena, and their movements will look like they’re dancing with each other! Each specific “movement” is judged on a 0-10 basis with 0 being the worst and 10 being the best. The letters around the perimeter of the arena are markers as to where the specific movements should take place. There is no jumping involved with dressage, just walking, trotting, cantering, and more advanced moves depending on the pair’s experience level.

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Photo courtesy of USEA
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Photo courtesy of USEA
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Photo courtesy of USEA
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Photo courtesy of USEA

Dressage is meant to look effortless and beautiful while the horse moves throughout the pattern.

Dressage is scheduled for:

Wednesday, August 30th
George H. Morris Arena
Preliminary Horse 8:30am-5:00pm
Ring 2
Training Amateur 8:00am-2:30pm
Training Rider 2:45am-5:45pm
Ring 3
Training Horse 8:00am – 11:05am
Jr. Training 12:30pm-5:40pm
Ring 4
Preliminary Amateur 8:15am-10:35am
Preliminary Rider 10:45am-12:35pm
Jr./Y.R. Preliminary 1:30pm-6:30pm

Thursday, August 31st
George H. Morris Arena
Advanced 8:30am-12:15pm
Ring 1
Novice Horse 8:00am- 12:40pm
Novice Rider 2:15pm- 4:50pm
Ring 2
Jr. Novice 8:00am-3:55pm
Ring 3
Master Novice Amateur 8:00am-12:55pm
Novice Amateur 2:05pm-6:00pm

Friday, September 1st
Ring 1
Beg. Novice Horse 8:00am-10:50am
Jr. Beg. Novice 14U 12:30pm-5:10pm
Ring 2
Master Beg. Novice Amateur 8:00am-12:20pm
Beg. Novice Amateur 1:30pm-5:15pm
Ring 3
Jr. Beg. Novice 8:00am-12:10pm
Beg. Novice Rider 1:30pm-4:45pm
Ring 4
Open Intermediate 8:20am-12:50pm

 

2. Cross Country

Cross Country is exactly what it sounds like – horse and rider trek across the country-side while jumping impressive natural obstacles such as ditches, water, banks, and drop-down jumps. Seriously – these jumps are incredible! The course must be completed at a gallop because there is a time limit for completion. The course consists of 15-25 fences for lower levels and 30-40 fences for upper levels and the track is usually two to four miles long.

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Photo courtesy of USEA
Photo courtesy of USEA
Photo courtesy of USEA
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Photo courtesy of USEA
Photo courtesy of USEA

Overall, cross country is for those with no fear and is incredibly fun to watch!

Cross Country is scheduled for:

Thursday, August 31st
Preliminary 8:00am-12:45pm
Training 1:00pm-6:15pm

Friday, September 1st
Novice 8:00am-3:00pm

Saturday, September 2nd
Beg. Novice 8:00am-3:35pm
Open Intermediate 3:55pm-5:45pm

Sunday, September 3rd
Advanced 9:45am-11:00am

 

3. Show Jumping

Now we are on to the third phase of eventing – show jumping. Show jumping is what you have watched if you have ever come to one our favorite Saturday Night Lights events, so you may have already experienced watching a jumper class!

Show jumping is when the horse and rider combination compete in an arena over a course with colorful rails that are easily knocked down. The objective is to not knock any rails down, and complete the course as quickly as possible within the time allowed. This phase can be tricky for horses, because they have just completed the cross country phase the day before. Jumps come down with just a small tap, so it is a test of the horse and rider’s precision and connection!

“Saturday Night Lights” during Labor Day Weekend will boast the advanced section of show jumping.

Photo courtesy of USEA
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Photo courtesy of USEA
Photo courtesy of USEA
Photo courtesy of USEA
All show jumping classes are held in the George Morris Arena.

Show Jumping is scheduled for:

Friday, September 1st
Preliminary Amateur 8:00am-8:40am
Preliminary Rider 8:45am-9:20am
Jr./Y.R. Preliminary 9:35am-11:00am
Training Horse 11:30am-12;30pm
Training Amateur 12:20pm-2:20pm
Training Rider 2:55pm-3:50pm
Jr. Training 4:00pm-5:30pm

Saturday, September 2nd
Preliminary Horse 8:00am-9:55am
Novice Horse 10:40am-12:05pm
Master Novice Amateur 12:20-1:40pm
Novice Amateur 1:55pm-3:10pm
Novice Rider 3:50pm-4:35pm
Jr. Novice 4:50pm-6:45pm
Advanced 8:00pm-9:45

Sunday, September 3rd
Open Intermediate 8:00am-9:10am
Beg. Novice Horse 9:45am-10:35am
Master Beg. Novice Amateur 10:45am-12:10pm
Beg. Novice Amateur 12:20pm-1:30pm
Beg. Novice Rider 2:05pm-3:10pm
Jr. Beg. Novice 3:25pm-4:45pm
Jr. Beg. Novice 14U 4:55pm-6:20pm

4. Scoring

Throughout the event, each phase  is scored, and penalties carry over from each day’s round. For example, if you have penalties in dressage, that will carry over into cross country and show jumping. The goal is to accumulate as few faults as possible over the three days. The horse and rider who have the least penalties at the end of the competition will bring home the blue ribbon!

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Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman
Photo courtesy of USEA
Photo courtesy of USEA

 

Grab your friends and family and come watch the 2017 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena® at Tryon International Equestrian Center this Labor Day Weekend! All equestrian competition is free and open to the public for spectating!  We’ll see you soon!

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