Before you consider entering your first event, it is important that you work with a reputable instructor who can help you be safe and successful in your debut.
If you don’t yet have an eventing coach, the USEA’s Instructors’ Certification Program has a directory of certified trainers. Click here to explore the directory by area. Finding an ICP certified instructor ensures that you are learning from someone who has been educated to the highest standards of both effective and safe instruction.
It is also a good idea to attend some clinics or other educational activities to help in your preparation. Clinics are a great opportunity to get your horse in a new environment and with other horses. You can also learn a lot just from watching the other participants and listening to the trainer’s instructions for them. Interested in attending a clinic? Consult the USEA’s Activity Calendar.
Next, you’ll need to become a member of the USEA. Membership is required to compete at any national competition from Beginner Novice through Advanced. Membership runs from December 1 through November 30 of the follower year.
- Full: $85, Ability to compete at all USEA horse trials and all USEA Programs.
- Junior: $60, A full membership available to riders through the end of the calendar year of their 18th birthday
- Collegiate: $60, Available to all riders who are members of an intercollegiate team that is affiliated with the USEA
- Supporting: $40, for those who want to stay involved with eventing, but don’t plan to compete
Next, you’ll want to get your hands on the Rulebook. The USEF Rules for Eventing might seem a bit thick at first, but all competitors are responsible for fluency of these rules. Not knowing a rule will not stand as an excuse at an event, so make sure you set time aside to familiarize yourself.
The Omnibus will help you pick out your first event. The Omnibus is the calendar listing of every event in the country, and it contains detailed information about each competition. You should turn to your coach for advice on which event to pick for your first, but there is an event description in the omnibus which will give you a few clues about the competition. The organizer might give tips about level difficulty (average, for horses will extensive experience at the level, etc.) or terrain (rolling hills, sandy, established turf, etc.).