Eventing is a combination of athletic challenges that puts the all-around ability of both horse and rider to test. The competitions are called Horse Trials, Three Day Events, or Events. Today's eventing has evolved from a series of difficult tests military units used to pick the best mounts. There are three phases; dressage, cross country, and stadium jumping - the penalty scores are combined for the final result with the lowest score winning.
Dressage demonstrates the relaxation, suppleness and obedience of the horse, using a series of pre-determined movements. Individual movements of the test and the overall performance are evaluated.
The cross country course uses banks, ditches, water jumps as well as more straightforward solid fences in natural terrain to test the jumping ability and courage of the horse and rider. Refusals, run outs and falls (of horse and/or rider) count as jumping faults. Faults are also given for for exceeding the optimum time allowed.
The stadium jumping phase is meant to show that a fit and bold horse has the obedience necessary to negotiate a course of show jumps. Performance is evaluated on jumping faults as well as time taken as in cross country.