Welcome to Eventing

The Olympic sport of Eventing is the most complete combined competition discipline recognised by the FEI. Sometimes described as an equestrian triathlon, Eventing demands considerable experience in all branches of equitation.

Eventing originated as a military competition which tested officers and horses in challenges that could occur on or off duty. It also provided a basis to compare training standards between the cavalries of different countries. The modern competition comprises dressage, cross-country and jumping on consecutive days. The competitor rides the same horse throughout the three phases.

Cross-country is the highlight, testing the speed, stamina and jumping ability of the horse, as well as the rider’s knowledge of pace and the use of his horse. The course will have between 25 and 45 specially constructed jumps over solid obstacles such as logs, woodpiles and stone walls, with water and ditches increasing the technical difficulty.

Eventing has a huge following with crowds of up to 250,000 recorded at the British spring feature at Badminton. In 1976 the Princess Royal was a member of the British Olympic team, and her daughter, Zara Phillips, is also an accomplished Event rider. Meanwhile New Zealand’s Mark Todd wrote a 112-page biography of his horse Charisma, with whom he twice won the Olympic Eventing title.

A demonstration of Olympic spirit and determination at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, where the first three Australians were well ahead of the field when one of their horses went lame, saw their fourth rider, 45-year-old Bill Roycroft, who had broken his collarbone in the cross-country, leave his hospital bed, to go clear in the Jumping and secure team gold for Australia.

Eventing demands of the competitor considerable experience in all branches of equitation and a precise knowledge of the horse’s ability and of the horse a degree of competence resulting from intelligent and rational training. It covers all round riding ability and horsemanship: the harmony between horse and rider that characterise Dressage; the contact with nature, precise knowledge of the horses ability and extensive experience essential for the Cross Country; the precision, agility and technique involved in Jumping.

Eventing is one of the three disciplines in competition at the Olympic Games, the other two being Jumping and Dressage.

Modern competitions consist of three distinct tests: Dressage, Cross-Country and Jumping. They take place on separate consecutive days during which a competitor rides the same horse throughout.

1. Dressage Test After an opening Horse Inspection, a Dressage test is performed, the object of which is the harmonious development of the physique and ability of the horse. The test consists of a series of compulsory movements at walk, trot and canter gaits, within a rectangular arena 60 m. long and 20 m. wide. To perform a good Dressage test, the horse needs to be flexible and fluid. To keep the strong Eventing horses under the firm control required by the exacting Dressage movements involves great knowledge and understanding. A good Dressage test lays the foundation for the rest of the competition and horses that are found wanting in this phase face an uphill struggle to get up amongst the prize-winners.

2. Cross-Country Test The focus of the entire event is on the Cross-Country test, the objective of which is to test the ability of athletes and horses to adpat to different and variable conditions (weather, terrain, obstacles, footing etc...) and jumping ability of the horse, while at the same time demonstrating the rider’s knowledge of pace and the use of his horse. Exceeding the time allowed and refusals result in penalties. All penalties are added together and recorded for inclusion in the final classification. Fall of a horse and/or of a rider entails immediate elimination.

3. Jumping Test The Jumping test takes place on the last day after a second Horse Inspection. Riders may voluntarily retire their horses if they seem unfit to continue. This test is run in reverse order of merit and its main objective is to prove that the horses have retained their suppleness, energy and obedience in order to jump a course of 11 to 15 obstacles.

The winning individual is the competitor with the lowest total of penalty points. The winning team is the one with the lowest total of penalty points, after adding together the final scores of the three highest placed competitors in the team.

The Premier Eventing Competitions are...

  • Olympic Games
  • FEI World Equestrian Games
  • FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing
  • Continental Championships

Latest Department Updates

  • 29 Apr 2019
    EVENTING - Clarification 2019 Eventing rules Art 549.2 – Run-out – Missing a flag

    Further to the request of Athletes, Organisers and Officials, the Eventing Committee has agreed to the following clarification to ensure consistency of the application of the 2019 Eventing rules Art 549.2 – Run-out – Missing a flag as follows:

    For reference: 2019 Eventing Rules Art 549.2      Run out - missing a flag :

    a) Run-Out: A Horse is considered to have run out (20 penalties) if, having been presented at an element or obstacle on the course, it avoids it in such a way that the body of the Horse (head, neck, shoulders and pelvis – legs are not included) fail to pass between the extremities of the element or obstacle as originally flagged. Continuing on course without representing will incur elimination.

    b) Missing a flag: A Horse is considered to have missed a flag (15 penalties) if the Horse jumps the dimension of the obstacle and the majority of the Horse’s body (as defined above) passes through the flags. This means that some part of the body is not inside the flags (e.g. one shoulder, or one shoulder and part of one hip).

    c) The Horse will have successfully negotiated the fence, if the body of the Horse (as defined above) has passed the fence as originally flagged (i.e. the body but not all the legs are inside the flag is considered clear).”

    The Eventing Committee has agreed that the following considerations must be taken into account when judging the run-out /flag situation on Cross Country:

    1.    The Fence Judge is responsible for taking a decision as to a penalty to be awarded to the combination

    2.    Knocking down a flag will not entail an automatic penalty

    3.    The Ground Jury will only review any specific requests for clarification made by a Fence Judge or an Athlete after the penalty has been awarded

    4.    Video reviews should be done immediately by the TD and/or GJ if there is a doubt, not left until after the XC so scores can be published and updated during competition

    5.    When reviewing a video, it must be easy to decide if the horse is inside the flags, if it is necessary to review several times, the decision should be made in favour of the rider.

    6.    As always if there is a doubt give the benefit of the doubt to the competitor.

    7.    15 penalties on Cross Country will maintain the MER on Cross Country

  • 29 Mar 2019
    Eventing Risk Management Programme - FEI approved Frangible Devices

    The MIM 45° - 90° Corner kit has been added to the FEI register of products having met the standard for minimum strength of frangible/deformable cross country fences.
    The FEI Registration number given is FEI08SWE.
    The register of products is published on our website under the Eventing / Risk Management section

  • 1 Jan 2019
    Eventing Categorisation of Athletes

    The Eventing Categorisation of Athletes has been updated on 1 January 2019 and takes into account MERs obtained between 1 January 2011 and 31 December 2018.

    The lists of categorised Athletes are available on the following webpage.

  • 1 Jan 2019
    EVENTING - 2018 World Eventing Athlete Rankings and Zone Rankings

    Final FEI World Eventing Athlete Rankings 2018 - Final Rankings

    1. Oliver Townend (GBR)
    2. Rosalind Canter (GBR)
    3. Tim Price (NZL)
    4. Michael Jung (GER)
    5. Gemma Tattersall (GBR)

    The Eventing Zone Rankings have been updated and are available on the following webpage, click here.

    2018 Leaders of the Eventing Zone Rankings:
    North Western Europe: Oliver Townend (GBR)
    South Western Europe: Maxime Livio (FRA)
    Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia: Evgeniya Ovchinnikova (RUS)
    North America: Phillip Dutton (USA)
    Central and South America: Carlos Sueiras (GUA)
    Africa and Middle East: Heidi Caine (RSA)
    South East Asia and Oceania: Tim Price (NZL)
    Note: Eventing Zone Rankings are processed once a year and take into account results obtained between 1 January and 31 December 2018


  • 10 Dec 2018
    Eventing Risk Management Programme - FEI approved Frangible Device


    The MIM Skinny Post & Rail kit has been added to the FEI register of products having met the standard for minimum strength of frangible/deformable cross country fences, to be used as from 1st January 2019.
    The FEI Registration number given is FEI07SWE.
    The register of products is published on our website under the Eventing / Risk Management section.


  • 30 Nov 2018
    EVENTING - FEI Eventing Nations Cup Series 2019 Calendar

    The Calendar of the 2019 FEI eventing Nations Cup Series has been approved by the FEI Board Members during their in-person meeting in Bahrain (November 2018):

    Leg 1 – Houghton Hall (GBR) 23-26 May 2019 CCIO4*-NC-S

    Leg 2 – Pratoni Del Vivaro (ITA) 5-8 June 2019 CCIO4*-NC-S

    Leg 3 – Strzegom (POL) 27-30 June 2019 CCIO4*-NC-S

    Leg 4 – Camphire Cappoquin (IRL) 24-29 July 2019 CCIO4*-NC-S

    Leg 5 – Le Pin au Haras (FRA) 8-11 August 2019 CCIO4*-NC-S

    Leg 6 – Waregem (BEL) 19-22 September 2019 CCIO4*-NC-S

    Leg 7 – Boekelo (NED) 10-13 October 2019 CCIO4*-NC-L

    Note: A minimum of three teams must compete at each Event of the Series in order to validate the competition as a Nations Cup.


  • 10 Aug 2018
    2018 World Equestrian Games / Eventing Cross Country / Update
    FEI Eventing Committee Chair David O’Connor was onsite in Tryon this week to review the Eventing Cross Country course for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018. Preparation work on the footing has progressed greatly following a very wet spring and, in consultation with Course Designer Captain Mark Phillips and the Tryon Organising Committee, it is confirmed that the full 5,700m track is ready for the WEG Eventing Cross Country according to the technical level specified in the Eventing Rules. 
    As foreseen in the rules, modifications can be made to the course by the Ground Jury during the event should adverse weather conditions be expected.
  • 1 Jul 2018
    Categorisation of Athletes 1 July 2018

    The Eventing categorisation of Athletes has been updated on 1 July 2018 and takes into account MERs obtained between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2018.

    The lists of categorised Athletes are available on the following webpage.

  • 27 Mar 2018
    FEI Athletes Representative Election

    As you may know, this is an election year for the FEI Athlete Representatives in all the FEI disciplines. We have recently reached out to all the eligible athletes and we would like to enlist the community to help us encourage and motivate eligible athletes to come forward and nominate themselves.


    The FEI Athlete representative carries a four year term (non-renewable) and is a member of the FEI Discipline Committee and also member of the FEI Athletes Committee with all the other athlete representatives. This position is a really important and vital role providing a voice to your community within the global decision making process.


    We have a dedicated page on InsideFEI with all the relevant information around elections.


    Timeline & Deadlines

    1 May, 23:59 CEST         Deadline to submit Application

    8 May                            Names and supporting documents of Candidates for the Athlete Representative positions will be published

    29 July                          Online voting process opens on inside.fei.org (see eligibility criteria above)

    23 September                Online voting process closes


    Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Julie.schlaefli@fei.org


  • 6 Mar 2018
    Eventing Risk Management (NSO) Seminar, Lausanne (SUI), 27 - 28 January 2018

    The report and annexes of the 2018 Eventing Risk Management Seminar have been published under Eventing / Risk Management