What is a Combined Training?
Combined Training is just what its name suggests, and is considered by many to be the most physically demanding discipline for both horse and rider. Similar to a humans-only Triathlon, Combined Training requires horse and rider to compete in three different competitive areas - stadium jumping, dressage, and cross-country. Each of these disciplines puts emphasis on different aspects of riding but, taken together, they ultimately produce a versatile and well-rounded team. Because CT is particularly challenging for a horse, these types of competition are sometimes referred to as "horse trials".
At the top levels of competition, a Combined Training event usually takes place over three days, one day for each discipline, which is why you'll sometimes also hear a Combined Training event referred to as "a three-day". At lower levels - with shorter and less difficult cross-country courses, more basic level dressage tests, and simpler jumper courses - a CT event can be held over just two days. The FENCE Horse Trials held in the spring of each year, for example, are arranged so that competitors do their cross-country and dressage test in one day and their stadium jumping on the second day. Final standings are arranged by comparing total number of points in stadium jumping and dressage, along with the best times and fewest penalties in cross-country.
As might be imagined, these multi-day events with three different areas of activity require an enormous number of volunteers. Riding experience or knowledge of horses is not required for many volunteer positions. If you're interested in volunteering for the FENCE Horse Trials, email us and we'll put you on our contact list.
If you'd like to watch a Combined Training event at FENCE this year, click here for dates. To learn more about other Combined Training events in the area, click here to visit the Foothills Riding Club or Tryon Riding and Hunt Club.
If you'd like to visit the website of Eventing USA, the national sanctioning body for the sport, click here.