Comprised of three forms of competition – dressage, cross-country, jumping – eventing is considered the supreme test of total horsemanship.
Initially intended to test military officers for any challenges that could occur on or off duty, it also provided a basis by which to compare training standards between the cavalries of different countries.
Each elite horse typically has a team of five to ten people dedicated to keeping it happy and healthy.
Even something as subtle as your heart rate can make a difference: In one 2009 study, researchers found that when a rider’s heart rate went up from anxiety, the horse’s did,entourage.
Behavior isn’t just the realm of the behavior specialist.
The fourth and final day is for the two jumping tests.
The first determines the final results of the team event while the individual results become final after the second.
It’s the same challenge: Figuring out what’s wrong with someone who can’t explain how they’re feeling.
When a horse has a behavior problem, “we start working just like a psychologist would work to figure out a child, or any other nonverbal human that’s having difficulty,” Mc Donnell explains.
They begin with a two-day dressage test of the horse’s obedience, flexibility and harmony with the rider in executing compulsory movements.
The third day is for the cross-country test of a horse’s strength, courage, condition and stamina as riders try to complete a nearly 6km course of up to 45 jumps over logs, stone walls, water, banks and ditches within a time limit.
“With performance horses of this caliber, problems are often a very subtle physical discomfort that’s causing the horse to not jump as high or work as well,” she says.