Excerpt from the April issue of Heels Down Magazine.
Of all the English riding disciplines, three day eventing has faced perhaps the most pressure to adapt to Olympic format constraints, diminishing land space, safety concerns, and the need for visibility and sponsorship. These pressures – both internal and external – have been answered with a number of individual solutions including the adoption of the short format, frangible technology, and live event streaming.
The sport has changed so much, in fact, that some riders wonder how much eventing today resembles the sport it was intended to be. Of course, in order to stay relevant all sports must change, but with the rise of hybrid events like indoor eventing and the the inclusion of eventing demonstrations at hunter and jumper shows, the question must be asked: has eventing left behind the integrity and values the sport was founded upon?
“The idea of eventing, when I got into it, was that it was a sport for the galloping thoroughbred horse,” said Olympian and U.S. Eventing Hall of Famer, Denny Emerson. “They had a sport for dressage people – dressage. They had a sport for show jumping people – show jumping. And eventing was the other wing. It went along that way for a long time.”