A Three Day, usually is referred to an international competition.  The levels of international events are identified by the number of stars next to the category; there are four levels in total. A CCI* is for horses that are just being introduced to international competition. A CCI** is geared for horses that have some experience of international competition. CCI*** is the advanced level of competition.  The CCI**** is the most challenging.  Competitors all over the world will come to compete at a 4-star, as it is usually referred to.

A three-day event (3DE), which is more commonly now run over four days, with dressage on the first two days followed by cross country the next day and then show jumping in reverse order on the final day.

Veterinary inspection, or “trot up”/”horse inspection”

Before the beginning of a three-day event, and also before the last phase, horses are inspected by a vet to ensure that they are fit to compete further. It is usually a very formal affair, with well-groomed and braided horses, and nicely dressed riders. It is also a very nerve-racking time, as the “pass” or “fail” determines whether the horse may continue with the competition. A vet can request that a horse is sent to the holding box, when it will then be re-assessed before being allowed to continue.

In lower levels of competition, the horse’s movement may be analyzed as they finish the cross-country, where they will be asked to trot briefly after crossing the finishing line to satisfy the vet of their soundness.

This has turned into a slight fashion show as well… There is usually a best turned out horse award.  We will get into what to wear and what not to wear later!

Things have changed in the last 25 years…


There used to be a weight requirement prior to 1999.  On cross country day, you had to weight in at 165lbs with your saddle or more.  For smaller riders, that was a struggle and they had to carry weight in a weight pad to compensate for the pounds.  That requirement was removed in 1999.

There was the long format which included Roads& Tracks and steeplechase on the Cross Country day.  In 2005, things changed again and roads & tracks and steeplechase were eliminated.  This seems to have changed the type of horse eventers go for and Warmblood mixes have become popular to compete.

The jumps on cross country have become quite fancy and more challenging.  Some could be called sculptures that horses jump over!

But don’t worry your typical classic eventing jumps obstacles are still there too!

Water!  Ditches! Banks! Coffins! Coops! Tables! Skinnies! Bounces! etc…


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March 25, 2013

One Reply to “The Three Day…The ulitimate challenge for an event rider”

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