Alberta Horse Trials Association

Supporting and Promoting Eventing in Alberta



The Alberta Horse Trials Association is a not for profit dedicated to the Olympic Sport of Three Day Eventing.


Eventing is commonly seen as an equestrian triathlon, in that it combines different disciplines dressage, cross country and show-jumping into one competition. It has two main formats, the one day event (ODE) and the three day event (3DE), and has also been referred to as Horse Trials, and Combined Training.

The dressage phase (held first) comprises an exact sequence of movements ridden in an enclosed arena (20 x 40 meters or 20 x 60 meters). The test is judged by one or more judges who are looking for balance, rhythm and suppleness and most importantly, obedience of the horse and its harmony with the rider. Each movement in the test is scored on a scale from 0 to 10, with a score of "10" being the highest possible mark. The dressage mark (score) is then converted into penalty points.

The next phase (ie: Phase D only see below regarding Long vs Short format), cross-country, requires both horse and rider to be very fit and brave plus trusting of each other. This phase consists of approximately 12-20 fences (lower levels), 30-40 at the higher levels, placed on a long outdoor circuit. These fences consist of very solidly built natural objects (telephone poles, stone walls, etc.) as well as various obstacles such as ponds and streams, ditches, drops and banks, and combinations involving several jumping efforts - based on objects that would commonly occur in the countryside. This phase is timed, with the rider required to cross the finish line within a certain time frame (optimum time).

Penalties are incurred due to: Crossing the finish line after the optimum time, and for lower levels going too fast. Refusals, falls, other disobediences at jumps. The penalties for this phase are weighted more heavily as compared to the other phases of competition to emphasize its importance.

The last phase, show jumping, tests the technical jumping. In this phase, 12-20 fences are set up in a ring with the competitor being timed. Typically these fences are brightly colored and consist of elements that can be knocked down, unlike cross country obstacles. Penalties are given out for disobediances, falls, knock downs and for going over the optimum time. At the end of the competition, the rider with the fewest combined penalties is the winner.

Recently, the phases A (1st Roads & Tracks), B (Steeple-chase), and C (2nd Roads & Tracks) have been excluded on cross-country day from 3-day events. The primary reason for excluding these phases was that the Olympic Committee was considering dropping the sport of eventing from the Olympics because of the cost and large area required for the speed and endurance phase with a steeplechase course and several miles of roads-and-tracks. To prevent the elimination of the sport from the Olympics program, the "short format" was developed by the FEI, which excluded the phases A, B, and C on cross country day, while retaining phase D. The last Olympic Games that included the long, or "classic", 3-day format were the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney. The one- and two-star level events will offer "with steeplechase" (the long format), however, three-star events will only offer the short format. All four-star competitions have switched to the short format: Badminton and Burghley began running the short format. Currently all of the four-star competitions have now switched to the short format.

International events have specific categories and levels of competition. CCI (Concours Complet International, or International Complete Contest) is one such category and defines a three-day event that is open to competitors from any foreign nation as well as the host nation. CCI : International Three-day event (Concours Complet International). CIC: International One-day event (Concours International Combin). CCIO: International Team Competitions (Concours Complet International Officiel). Includes the Olympics, the World Championships, the Pan Am Games, and other continental championships. The levels of international events are identified by the number of stars next to the category: CCI* is for horses that are just being introduced to international competition. CCI** is for horses that have some experience of international competition. CCI*** is the advanced level of competition. CCI**** is the very highest level of competition (i.e.: Badminton, Burghley, Rolex, Worlds, Olympics) and is the ultimate aim of many riders.


The levels below Entry are Provincial levels designated by the names Pre-Entry and Starter. The levels above Entry level are PreTraining, Training, Preliminary, Intermediate and Advanced. See Eventing Rules for more information.

For official levels – Advanced, Intermediate, Preliminary, Training, Pretraining and Entry – see the Equine Canada and/or FEI Rule Book.

Alhambra Stables, Red Deer Area
Beaumont Horse Trials, Beaumont Area
Buster Creek Horse Trials, Rocky Mountain House Area
Cochrane Horse Trials, Cochrane Ag Grounds
South Peace Horse Trials, Grande Prairie Area

SPECTATORS are very welcome at all events. Competitors enjoy performing for an audience and being appreciated for their efforts. Feel free to ask questions at the show office or of anyone who is not too busy with a horse, judging or scoring. Please remember that the competitors are probably quite focused on what they are doing and that HORSES HAVE THE RIGHT AWAY AT ALL TIMES. A cry of HEADS UP on cross-country means clear the way quickly! Dogs are generally permitted but must always be on a leash. Always check with organizers at each event before you bring your dog. 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 WOWS 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. Everyone can relate to those rider fences and you'll find plenty of offers of helpful advice and assistance. Besides, who can resist sharing their own stories about previous errors and thrilling new achievements?

Lets face it eventers look like they're having the time of their lives! Finally if you are holding back because of the risk factor, remember modern course designs and techniques as well as new qualification requirements have made the cross-country courses safer (and fun) for both horse and rider. And just think of the riding skills you'll master on your way to the top!