Eventing uses a penalty scoring method, with penalties being added throughout the three phases. Put simply, the person that completes the event with the lowest penalty score wins.
During the dressage phase, each horse and rider combination will complete a series of set movements each marked out of ten by the judge/s. Hartpury’s competitions each have three judges also known as the ‘ground jury’.
The cross country phase is arguably the most influential with each horse and rider combination tackling a set course of solid obstacles flagged and numbered in the order they should be negotiated. Refusals, falls, errors of course, knock-down of frangible pins and failure to jump between the flags are all penalised.
Competitors must also aim to complete the course within the set optimum time. This time is based on the course distance and optimal speed of travel awarded to the competition level. Those who complete the course outside of this optimum time will incur time penalties.
During the showjumping phase, horse and rider combinations tackle a set course of knockdown obstacles with the aim of jumping a clear round. The height and number of obstacles are decided based on the competition level. Penalties are awarded for refusals, falls and knockdowns, and a time allowed is given. Competitors completing the course outside of this time allowed will incur time penalties.
Scores from all phases are added up at the end of the competition and the winner is the horse and rider combination with the lowest penalty score.