Bramham Horse Trials is a three star event and presents the ultimate challenge of horsemanship as it requires horses and riders to perform three totally different activities within the same competition: dressage, cross-country and show jumping.
Dressage is the first phase of the competition which takes place during Thursday and Friday. This phase is designed to test the training and discipline of the horse and rider and consists of a pre-set test which is judged subjectively by a team of experienced professionals. The leading rider will be the one with the lowest penalty score after this phase.
The cross-country is held on Saturday and is all about the trust between horse and rider. The rider needs to judge pace and speed in order to complete the challenging 26 fence course run over approximately 6000 metres. It is a thrilling phase which is run at over 20mph and includes several multi-element and complicated obstacles.
Competitors are given penalties for any refusals or falls during this phase and they are also required to complete the course within an ‘optimum time’. Failure to do so results in further penalty marks being given. The rider needs to be confident, and quick thinking to complete this phase successfully.
The final day of the event is the show jumping. Only the horses who completed the cross country and remain fit and healthy following the cross-country day will be permitted to compete this final nail-biting phase.