Wednesday November 29, 2023
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Horse Trials Guidelines


We thought it might be a good idea to give you some basic information about hunting. You can also download this guide.

Horse Trials brings together three riding disciplines: Dressage, Showjumping and Cross Country.  (please see separate Guidelines for Dressage and Showjumping).   Eventing Rule Book 2023


  • PC70 : 70cm
  • PC80 : 85cm
  • PC90 : 95cm
  • PC100 : 1.05m
  • PC110 : 1.15m

Cross Country 

  • PC70 : 60cm
  • PC80 : 80cm
  • PC90 : 90cm
  • PC100 : 1.00m
  • PC110 : 1.10m

First Phase: Dressage

Remember to allow sufficient time to put studs in if necessary, for you get changed, tack up and warm up.  When you get to the warm up arena, report to your Arena Steward and get your tack checked.  It is useful to find out which rider you follow and how many there are to go before you.  Whip may only be carried for PC70, 80 and 90; no whips are permitted at PC100 and PC110.  Remember to remove your horse’s boots and tail bandage (if worn), well before you are due to enter the arena, as a last minute will not help!

Second Phase: Showjumping 

Ensure you have walked the course!

When you get to the warm up arena, find the Collecting Ring Steward to give your number and see how many there are to go before you and who you follow.  Allow sufficient time to warm up, but do not over jump the practice fences or hog them.  It is often helpful to watch a couple of rounds before entering the arena to remind yourself of the course.  Remember, do not start before the bell, but approach the start as soon as it is rung as you only have 45 seconds to begin your round.  Remember to breathe, think positive and enjoy yourself!  Should you be unlucky enough to be eliminated for three refusals, first fall of rider and/or horse or incurring more than 24 penalties, you will not be allowed to go Cross Country.  However, if you have been eliminated for any other reason such as missing a fence, you may be permitted to continue onto the cross country ‘HC’.

Third Phase: Cross Country

Ensure you have walked the course correctly following the correct colour fences for the level you are competing at, noting any alternative fences.

Change into your cross country colours, put on your body protector and number bid and crucially remember to put on your medical armband (recommended), complete with filled in card.  Before starting the Cross Country you should warm your horse up quietly, without tiring him.  Pop over the practice fence a couple of times in cross country style.

When you are called go quietly to the start box and wait for the countdown to begin.  The starter will usually count you down saying “1 minute, then 30 seconds, 15 seconds then 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go”. If your horse is quiet you may be able to walk into the box at around 15 seconds, where you stand and face the first fence.  If your horse if fairly excited it may be easier to walk around and enter the box on 10 seconds and slowly walk a circle. 

Once you have finished your cross country and gone through the finish bring your horse back to a walk as soon as possible (but on a contact; do not let the reins drop). Bring to a halt once you are away from the course and dismount.  Run your stirrups up, loosen the girth off, loosen nosebands off and walk your horse in hand back to your trailer/lorry.  Continue walking around until horse has recovered its wind.  Untack and remove any protection boots/bandages.  Offer a small amount of water.  Wash horse off and put on sweat rug. 

Read up on the penalties which will be given for disobedience/falls etc.  Note that at PC70 and PC80 competitors receive no time penalties for being too slow. Competitors will be eliminated for exceeding the time limit of the course.  Deliberately slowing down near the end of the course to avoid time penalties is likely to incur a disciplinary sanction.  This includes slowing to a trot or weaving before the finish – 5 penalties.

Whichever discipline you ride at it is down to YOU to know the Rules including correct dress, tack etc.  If you are unsure always ask.


Finally . . . . . enjoy yourself!!