How to Become a Horse Eventer

You all want to know what horse trials are and how to start huh? Well this article will teach you what you need for eventing: dressage, showjumping, and cross country!


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    Go to and find a few certified eventing trainers in your area. When you find one you like, start taking regular weekly lessons with them.
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    After a while of taking lessons, go ahead and lease a horse from your trainer. This will allow you to experience ownership without jumping into it unprepared. After a couple years of lessons and leasing, start shopping for an event horse with your trainer.
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    Have the appropriate tack. See "things you'll need" for more details.
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    Have a safe horse trailer. Make sure it can hold at least 2 horses even if you'll only be pulling one, and it has a spacious tack room. Also make sure you have an appropriate vehicle to pull it with.
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    Have the appropriate apparel for yourself. See "things you'll need" for details.
  6. Image titled Safely Carry a Lot of Money Step 2
    Have some money. This is an expensive thing to do so, you need to have money and lots of it. The recommended budget at most barns is at least $20,000 a year.
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    Take 1-2 lessons per week, and ride 6 days a week. This will keep you and your horse in shape and ready for shows.
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    When you and your horse are ready, enter a USEA recognized horse trials at the Beginner Novice level. To tell if you're ready, make sure you're schooling Novice level dressage movements, jumping 2'11", and jumping Novice x c because you always want to school one level above what you show.
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    Be prepared to fall off your horse. Accidents do happen, so it's better to be prepared. To be safer, always wear an appropriate, good quality helmet (recommended brand is Charles Owen), a skullcap on cross country, and a protective vest and air vest on cross country.
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    You must be in good shape, really good shape. The cross country phase is especially taxing on mind and body, although the thrill is so worth it! Riding a good 5 or 6 days a week and eating healthy should keep you thin and fit for riding.


  • When you buy a horse, make sure your trainer is in on the process, and buy one who's already gone upper level so he can teach you along the way.
  • When picking your cross country colors, try to only have two or three things be in that color (eg. horse boots and crop, or protective vest and skullcap) and everything else be white or black.
  • Although colors are fun, buying things in neutral colors such as white or navy will be better in the long run. You DON'T want to be known as the immature one who rides in bright pink everything!
  • Tuck in a collared shirt and wear a belt, tall boots, and have your hair up inside your helmet in a hairnet for a classier look. You'll regret wearing a t-shirt to lessons!
  • Ride at an eventing barn with an eventing trainer.
  • Always ask questions! The will to learn is the most important aspect of an eventer's attitude.


  • Riding is a very dangerous, high-risk sport.

Things You'll Need

  • Tack you'll need
  • -dressage saddle (Devoucoux and Wise Dutton are good brands)
  • -eventing saddle (Devoucoux and Wise Dutton)
  • -black dressage bridle with flash and black webbed reins
  • -jumping figure-8 bridle with rubber reins
  • -5-point breastplate for jumping/cross country
  • -WHITE saddle pads for jumping and dressage
  • -open-front jumping boots (Equi Fit, Eskadron, and Veredus are the best brands)
  • -cross country boots (Dalmar)
  • -leather halter
  • -bell boots
  • -winter blanket
  • -optional: half pad, martingale, shipping boots, etc.
  • Clothes you'll need
  • -black helmet to be used for dressage and showjumping phases (Charles Owen, Samshield, One K)
  • -skullcap to be used for cross country and schooling. both helmets should fit your hair inside them.
  • -white show shirt
  • -white stock tie and pin
  • -black show coat (Devon Aire, r.j. classics)
  • -polos/shirts for schooling and cross country (Ralph Lauren, EIS, Riding Sport)
  • -black leather thick belt. should be about 2"
  • -at least 2 pairs of tan breeches: one for showjumping/dressage, one for cross country/schooling. (Tailored Sportsman, Tredstep)
  • -one optional pair of white full-seat breeches for dressage (Tredstep, FITS)
  • -tall leather field boots, which should fit your calf like a glove (Tredstep, Mountain Horse, Ariat, Parlanti)
  • -black gloves (SSG, Roeckl)
  • -cross country watch
  • -optional: prince of wales spurs, leather spur straps, white gloves for dressage, etc.
  • Protective gear you'll need
  • -protective cross country vest (Tipperary, Charles Owen, Intec)
  • -cross country air vest (point-two, hit air)
  • -USEA medical armband
  • Other items
  • -good-quality 2-horse trailer with tack room
  • -truck
  • -USEA certified trainer
  • -a budget of $20,000/year
  • -event horse
  • -homeschooling once you get more serious. this will allow you to focus more on riding and showing and make you able to travel to shows more and spend more time on this sport.

Article Info

Categories: Riding | Horse Showing and Competition