Cross - country riding
Eventing discipline requires first of all a high level of horsemanship.
Although the three phases of eventing are of equal importance, the cross-country is often the main reason for riders to partecipate in this discipline and is often the most dominant phase.
Rider and horse need a high level of skill in all three phases, but the most challenging within eventing is to link up the three phases so that the work complements and improves, rather than spoils, each phase. The eventing discipline is a high level of horsemanship and understanding of the horse’s basic training, that will achieve a high standard in each of the three disciplines, not separately, but together, which defines the skills of an event rider.
Cross-country riding will test the rider’s balance, judgement, courage, agility and quickness of reaction and horse’s courage, agility and obedience. To maintain the gallop regular is a main goal for obtaining a good performance.
A horse galloping in balance on a line in good rhythm is going to take less out of himself, run less risk of injury, be able to jump better and more economically and therefore save time. Devoloping his natural balance and rhythm will be of great benefit in the dressage work.
To achieve the above it is important that the horse is galloping true and using himself in the right way, and that the horse and rider feel comfortable together when galloping. Controlling the horse while galloping requires a deep communication between him and the rider, besides the good position and right use of aids. The rider should have a good rapport with horse through the reins: the soft and constant contact. The hands should be wise and know when they must leave the horse free to choose and use his body without any restriction and must be able to create a sense of balance.
Feeling and confidence are the basic quality of a good eventing pair. The bond that is created between the rider and his horse is really special.
As the cross-country is as inflential as the dressage and show jumping it should be practised to the same extent. By starting to practise this at slow speed and gradually building up the speed the rider should also develop a sense of what is the correct cross-country speed.