One of the most dangerous types of equine sports is cross country. This is an endurance test has been seen in the Olympics as part of the three day event and is one of the most grueling parts of this event for both parties involved. Most who have witnessed this event and would say that it appears quite easy. Cross country tests the endurance, trust, agility, and the ability to overcome fear for both parties involved. This is a huge feat of training for both the horse and rider which is commonly misunderstood.
To give you a basic understanding, cross country has a course with a series of obstacles that the rider has to maneuver their horse over in a particular way to avoid penalties. The course can be anywhere between 2 2/3 to 4 miles long and will typically have 24 to 36 obstacles that need to be overcome before you finish the course. The obstacles are made to appear natural but they will be made to test your horse’s bravery. These obstacles are made to resemble ones that you would find if you were riding out in the country like, ditches, banks, trees, water, and logs. The courses can be held on flat or steep hills to further test you and your horse.
As strenuous as these events are, both you and your horse will have to undergo strenuous training. Most of the time, you will plan several months ahead for a specific event so you can prepare for the event properly. This means that you will have to adjust the next couple of months around the climate, the terrain, the amount of speed that the event demands, and the length of the course itself. It will be much easier to prepare if your horse has done these types of events before and is in top physical condition. If not, you will have to increase your horse’s endurance slowly until the event arrives.
Cross country jumping is not an event for everyone. The courses are difficult and they can be outright terrifying during your first event. Most of the courses require that your horse is going as fast as it can, making you have to make your decisions fast, and hoping that you do not misjudge the distance. These events are very dangerous. There are some people who have been seriously injured and there is always a possibility that you may not get back up if you fall. But it is one of the most rewarding experiences and necessary if you want to compete in the three day events.