If you’d like to see and hear more about eventing at Holly Hill Farm, feel free to come out and watch an event. Spectators are welcome and encouraged to ask questions. Admission is free and food & soft drinks are available for sale on the showgrounds. Wear comfortable shoes, bring your family (children very welcome), and portable lawn chairs. Guaranteed the excitement will be contagious…just keep your eyes up for the horses and riders, as they have the right-of-way at all times! All dogs must be leashed at all times.
What Are Horse Trials?
Horse Trials are also called Eventing. A full phase event is called a Three Day Event (like in the Olympics) because it takes place over three days; Dressage the first day, Cross-Country (Speed & Endurance) phase next, and Stadium Jumping on the last day. Horse Trials are scaled down versions which take place over one or two days. Holly Hill Horse Trials is a two day competition for Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, Preliminary, and Intermediate levels. As the levels progress the jumps are correspondingly higher, wider and more difficult, and the speeds are faster.
Success in this sport requires horse and rider to develop as a team. They must be adaptable, bold and athletic. Eventers take pride in developing their horses’ fitness level and they incorporate a training schedule that will allow them to achieve competency in all three disciplines.
The dressage test consists of a series of movements performed in an arena and judged subjectively. Precision, smoothness and obedience must be demonstrated to show the horse’s gymnastic development through progressive levels of skill. A percentage score is converted to penalties which are carried forward to the next phase.
This discipline is considered to be the most exciting part of eventing. Holly Hill Horse Trials has cross-country courses for the following levels: Intermediate, Preliminary, Training, Novice, and Beginner Novice. Cross-country is ridden over solid obstacles and varied terrain at an optimum speed assigned for each level. Heights for obstacles range depending on level. Penalties are assessed for horse refusals, run-outs, falls and being over optimum time. Also a rider can receive penalties for being too fast.
This phase consists of a simple stadium jumping course which demonstrates that the horse is capable of an obedient and supple effort after a day of exhilarating cross-country. And yes, the horses do know the difference between a solid and unfixed fence rail! Penalties are assessed for refusals, knock-downs, falls and being over the time limit.
At the end of the competition, the rider with the fewest combined penalties is the winner.
Is Eventing for You?
Eventers tend to be adventurous and develop a great deal of self-confidence as they train. This is a challenging sport, and when you master a level, be prepared for the exhilaration you’ll feel and the cheers you’ll hear from friends and family when they watch you compete.
Since eventers train their horses in three separate disciplines you can plan to spend plenty of time with your mount in a variety of situations. You’ll love the instant kinship and support that is prevalent amongst your fellow competitors.
Holly Hill Farm has a variety Eventing Coaches and Riding Instructors to guide you and your horse through the preparation necessary to compete.