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The Competition

Join us in celebrating the very best 14-21-year-old riders as they go head to head in the sport of dressage and eventing.

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Like many equestrian disciplines, dressage has its roots in the military where horses were trained to perform movements intended to evade or attack the enemy whilst in battle. The earliest work on training horses was written by Xenophon, a Greek Military Commander born around 430 BC.

Dressage continued to be an integral part of military training during the Renaissance, where European aristocrats would display their highly trained horses in equestrian pageants. A training system was developed over time and the Imperial Spanish Riding School of Vienna was established in 1572. Today, the sport of dressage remains based around their principles.

Dressage became an Olympic sport in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm with only commissioned military officers eligible to compete. In 1952, the rules changed to allow civilian men and women to compete.

The first dressage organisation in the UK was the British Horse Society Dressage Group founded in 1961. British Dressage was formed in 1998 at the governing body of dressage in the UK and the organisation now runs 2,000 days of dressage competitions each year for over 13,000 members and 10,000 registered horses.

The Olympic sport of eventing or horse trials is often referred to as the ultimate test of horse and rider. Each combination takes part in three disciplines - dressage, cross country and show jumping, the penalty scores from each combine to produce an overall total. The sport takes place across one, two or three days depending on the type and level of competition. 

In this ‘equine triathlon’, the serenity of the dressage is beautifully contrasted against the agility of the showjumping and the courage of the cross country. 

Eventing became an Olympic sport at the Stockholm Games in 1912 although was only open to amateur riders who were members of the military. The purpose was to test the cavalry on their overall suitability and fitness for purpose.

Eventing competitions or ‘horse trials’ in the UK originated at Badminton in the 1940s when the 10th Duke of Beaufort decided to run an event for British riders. 

Due to its military history, women were not allowed to ride in Olympic equestrian events until 1952. However, it wasn’t until the 1964 Tokyo games that USA’s Helena du Pont was the first woman on an Eventing team. 

Here at the FEI Dressage and Eventing European Championships for Young Riders and Juniors, male and female competitors will contest their relevant competition on equal terms.

The Championships

The Championships get underway on Monday 27 July and feature the disciplines of dressage and eventing.

We're no stranger to top-class dressage and eventing competitions, hosting the Hartpury International Festival of Dressage and Hartpury International Horse Trials each summer. Both events attract World, European, Olympic and Paralympic champions, and are often seen as preparatory fixtures for autumn international competitions and championship events.

For the eventing competition, Eric Winter will design the cross country course making use of the natural terrain and features of the estate.

View the provisional event timetable below.

DRESSAGE: Horse Inspection

CEREMONY: Opening Ceremony

DRESSAGE: Team Competition

DRESSAGE: Team Competition

CEREMONY: Team Dressage Competition Medal Ceremony

EVENTING: First Horse Inspection

EVENTING: Dressage 

DRESSAGE: Individual Competition

EVENTING: Dressage

DRESSAGE: Individual Competition

CEREMONY: Individual Dressage Competition Medal Ceremony

DRESSAGE: Freestyle Competition

EVENTING: Cross Country

CEREMONY: Freestyle Dressage Competition Medal Ceremony

EVENTING: Final Horse Inspection

EVENTING: Show Jumping

CEREMONY: Eventing Competition Medal Ceremony

Welcome to Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire lies on the northern edge of the South-West of England. With a population of 565,000, the county splits into three areas, the Cotswolds, the Royal Forest of Dean and the Severn Vale. 

In many ways, the county epitomises rural England with rolling countryside and historic architecture, the Cotswolds being an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Natural England)

Some of the county’s many attractions include the 840-year-old 'Berkley Castle', the Ruins of 'Witcombe Roman Villa' and 'Tewkesbury Abbey' which is over 500 years old and has the tallest Norman tower in England.

Click here to explore the county of Gloucestershire.