Withington Manor Horse Trials

PUBLISHED: 14:19 30 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:52 20 February 2013

Close to the action

Close to the action

From Sat 2nd-Sun 3rd May the Cotswolds will host one of the most demanding one-day events: Novice/Intermediate/Advanced horse trials & Pony Championship

Withington Manor Horse Trials is regarded as one of the most demanding one-day events in the country.

Ranging from Pony Championship, through Novice and Intermediate to Advanced levels of competition, Withington offers great attention to detail, innovation in design and organisation, and the highest fence building standards.

Eventing involves three tests of both horse and rider and is often described as an 'equestrian triathlon'. Competitors are tested over three phases including dressage, cross country and show jumping.

Over many years, Withington Horse Trials has proudly showcased and tested many of the finest UK riders and horses including Zara Phillips, Mark King, Harry Meade, Dag Albert, Kristina Cook, Andrew Nicholson and Louise Lockwood.


Horse Trials are an all-round test of both horse and rider demanding fitness, discipline and courage. A top event horse and rider must excel in all three phases and not just be a specialist in one. Men and women compete on equal terms, and as it is the horse that is graded and not the rider


This is the first phase of any horse trial and its purpose is to judge a horse's ability to perform a number of set movements within a marked out arena. The letters around the arena indicate where movements should start and finish. The judges look for a calm, obedient, elegant and accurate test where the partnership is harmonious with the horse responding easily and willingly to its rider.

Show Jumping

This phase tests the ability of horse and rider to jump coloured obstacles, which unlike those in the cross-country phase, can be knocked down. Its purpose is to demonstrate the horse's fitness, obedience and jumping accuracy. There is a time element involved but only if the time allowed is exceeded.

Cross Country

This is considered the most exciting element of the competition. The team must complete a variety of obstacles designed to test their fitness, technique, adaptability, courage, endurance and all-round ability.

Today, courses are technical with combination fences, such as the water jump which has numerous elements requiring multiple jumps to be completed in close succession. Some of these fences offer the rider a choice of possible routes through the obstacle.

The quickest route is usually the most difficult and the simpler option allows a less experienced horse and rider to negotiate the obstacle with less risk but utilising more time.

And the Winner is...

Horse Trials are actually scored in penalties; the competitor with the lowest score wins. In dressage, the penalty score is arrived at by adding up all the good marks awarded, subtracting them from the maximum possible and reducing the result by the application of a coefficient. In both show jumping and cross-country, penalties are incurred for exceeding the optimum time or for acquiring jumping penalties.

Visit our competitions page for details of a fantastic reader offer:


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