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    This article appeared in the September 2010 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe, please visit

    Here’s a starter’s guide to World Equestrian Games events. Further information is available at


    Dressage means “training” in French, and this discipline lives up to its moniker. Many consider the balletic movements at a walk, trot and canter the height of communication between horse and rider.


    Familiar to attendees of the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event held every April at the Kentucky Horse Park, eventing is short for “three-day event,” a competition that asks much of both horse and rider: On day one, they must compete at dressage; on day two, over a demanding cross-country course with fixed jumps; and on day three, over colored poles, brush and gate fences in a stadium.  


    Often called stadium jumping or show jumping, this timed event challenges horse and rider over a series of colored poles, brush and gate fences set in a complex pattern.  


    Added to the WEG in 2002, this event tests a Western-style horse at movements including a full circle, a sliding stop, flying lead changes, spins and patterns.  

    Combined Driving

    Competed by four-in-hand drivers and their teams, this event is modeled on eventing as described above. Day one offers driven dressage with team and carriage; day two, a timed long course with passages, water and hills; and day three, an obstacle-cone competition.


    Vaulting combines gymnastic movements and dance elements performed to music on a cantering horse. A performance includes a mount and dismount, much like  gymnastics competitions.

    Para-equestrian dressage

    This event is included for the first time at the 2010 World Equestrian Games. Riders with varying degrees of disabilities compete at dressage.


    This event against the clock tests the durability of both horse and rider over a 100-mile cross-country course, with at least five compulsory vet checks to assess a horse’s welfare and ability to continue.

    Photo: John Nation

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