A three-day event is an English-riding competition that has three components: dressage, cross-country, and stadium jumping. Also known as combined training, the three-day event was added to the Olympic program in 1912. The intent is to show the physical and mental versatility of you and your horse — that you can go from being cleaned up and collected in the dressage ring one day to galloping cross-country and sailing over jumps the next. The winner is the team with the best combined score over the three days.
Olympic equestrians David and Karen O'Connor are a well-known threeday eventing couple. In 2000, David brought home a gold medal from the Sydney Olympics, the first equestrian gold medal for the United States since 1984. In an interview, the couple pointed out that the equestrian segment is the only Olympic event in which men and women compete as equals. Their website,
Eventing is challenging and exhausting for both horse and rider. As with most disciplines, it's best to watch an event a few times to get a real sense of what goes on and whether it's for you. Like upper-level dressage, eventing goes way beyond pleasure riding and requires a certain kind of horse and a rider with complete discipline.