Arena eventing, your solution to winter blues…?
As the winter weather sets in and the ground turns to iron, you might be forgiven for thinking that your competing season is over till the spring. Great news – that’s not so thanks to a relatively new type of competition – arena eventing.
What is it?
Essentially it’s a combination of showjumping and cross-country done in an arena. It can be indoor or outdoor depending on the facility.
How does it work?
You enter and you are given a competition time – so that limits how long you have to hang around in the cold!.
It’s a single phase competition so the course, which consists of usually round 20 or so fences have to be jumped all in one go. Usually there is a set of showjumps to be tackled first, and then you go straight on to a series of cross-country combinations, which could include water or steps or any combination of XC fences. Generally, there is an optimum time for the XC phase which is agreed with the course designer depending upon the size and terrain of the arena although each venue will run their competition under their own set of rules so it’s worth checking what they are before you get started.
Sometimes course designers will put in a joker showjump fence at the end of the course, which will be bigger than the rest of the course and may attract more faults than standard if it’s knocked down.
The total time allowed for the course is generally twice the optimum time.
How do you win?
Clear rounds take priority over anyone with jumping faults and the winner will be the one nearest the optimum time.
What do you wear?
You can wear your XC gear or a hacking jacket, and you will need a body protector and most likely a skull cap without a fixed peak. You may also need to bring your own bib depending on the event.
How does the scoring work?
Again, it can vary by venue and event but generally penalties will be awarded as follows:
Show Jumping Cross Country
First disobedience 4 penalties 20 penalties
Second disobedience at same fence 8 penalties 40 penalties
Third disobedience Elimination Elimination
Knock down of obstacle 4 penalties N/A
Knock down of Joker fence 6 penalties N/A
Fall of horse Elimination Elimination
First fall of rider 8 penalties 65 penalties
Second fall of rider Elimination Elimination
Every second over optimum time 0.4 penalties 0.4 penalties
Exceeding time limit Elimination Elimination
Error of course Elimination Elimination
Retaking obstacle already jumped Elimination Elimination
Where can I do it?
There are lots of venues around the country that are doing arena events. Here are just a few, but check your local riding centres for more information.
North Yorkshire www.northallertonequestriancentre.co.uk
West Lothian www.snec.co.uk
East Lothian www.rockroseequestrian.com
West Sussex www.coombelands-equestrian.co.uk
North Yorkshire www.helenbellequestrian.co.uk
East Sussex www.petleywoodequestrian.co.uk
It’s very addictive!
Have a go and see for yourself!