Equestrian  What They Do

Just the Facts

Insider Info

dotProfessional equestrians make their living riding horses in competitions. Three different types of competitions are dressage, stadium jumping and three-day events.

Dressage is a precision sport that demonstrates a rider's ability to lead the horse through a sequence of choreographed steps. The rider memorizes the sequence of movements prior to stepping into the ring.

The rider then performs the moves while the judge watches to see how each is executed. The rider who has the most flawless performance wins the event.

In stadium jumping, horse and rider cruise over jumps set up in a riding ring. The object is to get over all of the fences, in proper sequence, in a certain amount of time.

Penalties are given if the horse knocks over part of the fence, refuses to go over a fence or takes too long to complete the sequence. A horse is disqualified if it refuses a fence three times.

Three-day eventing is a combination of different disciplines. On the first day, equestrians ride a dressage test. On the second day, they warm up their horses by riding on roads and tracks, and then take to the fields for a cross-country portion.

In cross-country, riders jump over a sequence of fences in a natural setting. On the final day, riders compete in a stadium jumping competition.

At a Glance

Ride horses in competitions

  • Learning to ride a horse with perfection takes years of practice
  • It's estimated that it costs a professional equestrian $60,000 a year to get to events and pay expenses
  • Take lessons from an experienced rider