Although eventing is extremely popular all over the world these days, it is and always was a quintessentially British sport. Like so many other sports Britain has introduced to the world, the students have, to a large extent, become the masters. The sport still has plenty of British champions, but the powerhouses of three-day eventing are now to be found in the colonies; New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Canada, and parts of South America. It is truly a world-wide phenomenon and incredibly popular, as both a televised and live spectator sport.
As hinted in the title of this piece, the three-day event is comparable to the human pentathlon or decathlon, in that it tests all aspects of a horse and rider’s skills, ultimately looking for, if you like, “the best equine athlete in the world.” Although some events are held over one or two days, in general terms, the event is performed over a three day time frame. It consists of three very different and challenging disciplines; dressage, cross-country, and show-jumping.
Finally, after completion of the three stamina-sucking events a horse and rider, with the least number of demerit points over the course of the event, can be declared the winner and proud owner of the title; “the best equine athlete of the event”. One reason why this event is so popular as a sporting contest is that it is still one of the few sports where women and men compete alongside each other as equals. Many of the top eventers in the world are female.
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