Possessing the most agile yet resistant horses suiutable for any type of combat – that was the philosophy that gave rise to eventing, the most demanding equestrian discipline. Its origin goes back to Europe, where soldiers competed in order to test how their horses would react to different situations.
Even with a reduction in armed conflicts, the sport grew. The first official competition was held in France in 1902, with the sport also becoming popular in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and North America.
In 1912, eventing entered the equestrian programme at the Stockholm Olympic Games, to sit alongside the jumping and dressage events.
Eventing involves both individual and team events. It is considered an 'equestrian triathlon' as it combines dressage, cross country and jumping. Eventing takes place over more than one day, and demands strength, stamina, balance and concentration.
The first event is dressage, which may last up to two days depending on the number of competing athletes. Riders and their horses are evaluated on the harmony of their movements by judges.
The next competition is cross country, in which participants need to jump over rustic obstacles (42 to 45 jumps, some of which may be combined) in open air, in a given time and with the smallest number of penalties.
The final part of eventing is a jumping competition that involves 11 to 13 obstacles with no more than 16 jumps, 1.25m high, with results won by teams. The 25 best riders take part in a second jumping round, which has a maximum of nine obstacles and 12 jumps up to 1.3m high.
Throughout the competitions, negative points for each rider and horse are accumulated. The winner of the event is the rider with the fewest penalties overall. Teams are made up of five participants each, and the two worst results are discarded.