The Olympic discipline of eventing encompasses three separate tests: dressage, cross-country, and jumping held consecutively and takes places over four days. As with all three equestrian disciplines on the Olympic program, the competition features both individual and team events, and men and women compete against each other on equal terms.
Dressage fills the first two days of the eventing competition. Each horse and rider performs a dressage test in front of a panel of judges. The test evaluates the gaits, suppleness and obedience of the horse through a series of prescribed movements. The total dressage score is converted into penalty points.
Day 3 is given over to the cross-country test. The cross-country test determines the stamina and athletic ability of the horse and the rider’s knowledge of pace and use of the horse across country. Every horse/rider combination is given penalty points for jumping errors and time penalties, which are added to any penalty points awarded during the dressage test to give a total score.
On the last day, the Jumping test takes place in the stadium arena, and again is simply a matter of jumping over each obstacle cleanly without any time penalties. Each test is scored individually but added together for the final results. The rider with the least number of penalty points, over the three tests, wins the competition.