Sports Information: Equestrian Eventing



Eventing, sometimes known as horse trials, tests a single horse and rider in three separate disciplines, dressage, show-jumping and cross-country. Events may run over one day (ODE) three days (3DE) or four days (4DE). To succeed, competitors are required to demonstrate complimentary abilities such as control, athleticism, stamina, speed and bravery. The sport is progressive, allowing horse and rider to develop the required skills at different levels of competition. A fairly unique feature of equestrian sports is that men and women compete on equal terms. Rather like the pentathlon, scoring is based on cumulative penalty points whereby the winner scores the least.




The origins of eventing are cavalry tests, in which participants had to show proficiency in various types of riding. The first eventing-style competitions were held in 1902 at the Championnat du Cheval d’Armes in France. Eventing was first recognized as an Olympic sport in 1912 but contestants at that time had to be serving male military officers. Entry was broadened to include civilian males in 1924, and women competed for the first time at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.




Competitions are graded according to the abilities of horse and rider. Categories are BE80 (T), BE90, BE100, Novice, Intermediate and Advanced. Numerals refer to the maximum fence height.


Dressage takes place in an arena 20 metres wide by 40 metres long (60 metres long in the more advanced competitions). Judges assess each rider on rhythm, balance and flexibility as well as taking into account obedience and empathy with the horse. Movements are marked out of ten and converted to a penalty score. 

In show jumping, the objective is to complete a clear round of between twelve and twenty fences within the allocated time. Fence heights are lower than in top-level competitions but still challenging for non-specialist horses and riders. Penalties are incurred for refusals, knock-downs and exceeding the time limit. 

The third phase, cross country, consists of up to twenty fences (lower levels), or up to forty (higher levels), erected on a long outdoor circuit. Fences are constructed of natural objects and the course also includes other obstacles, such as water hazards, ditches and banks.




There are many local and regional competitions throughout the eventing season which runs from January to October. International competitions are defined by the types of event. 

CCI represents an international three-day event (Concours Complet International)
CIC represents an international one-day event (Concours International Combiné)
CCIO represents an international team competition (Concours Complet International Officiel) 

The level of each event is indicated by a star rating of between one and four. For example, a CCI* event is for horses new to international competition and a CCI**** event represents competition at the highest level. The world championships are at that level alongside Badminton, Burghley, Rolex Kentucky, Adelaide, Luhmuhlen Horse Trials and the Stars of Pau.




  • Some UK and European bookmakers may offer ante-post and fixed odds markets on the more prestigious three day events such as Badminton but markets are weak

  • Betting will be more extensive on World Championships and The Olympics where there will be markets for individual riders and for national teams

  • In-running betting will be possible on major events

  • Check for injuries to horses and riders daily

  • Check ground conditions for the cross-country event 

  • Favour horses who perform well in the prevailing conditions

All content copyright LEARNTOBET USA

You must be over 21 to use this web site


Contact us at

LEARNTOBET USA promotes only responsible, legal gambling. If you think you have a problem controlling your gambling, please seek advice at

© 2015 LearntobetUSA