//Cross Country Riding: Equestrian sport
caballo de salto cross country

Cross Country Riding: Equestrian sport

In the world of equestrian sports there are a variety of disciplines, in general they are all demanding. However there are some, like cross country riding, that are even more demanding.

To participate in this unique sport, the rider and horse must remain fit and with endurance.

Cross-country its meaning is: “through the countryside”

This is a sport that is made up of the following disciplines:

  • The three-day test or full contest
  • Dressage
  • Finally, the obstacle jump.

It is also practiced in local competitions as an autonomous equestrian discipline.

Without a doubt, a rider-horse duo must be very well trained to perfectly master various disciplines of horseback riding.

Below is a video of one of the cross country riding tours to get acquainted with the event. Enjoy

Ingrid Klimke's leading cross country round #MMBHT 2017

Purpose of cross country

The purpose of this complex equestrian discipline is to experience speed, endurance and jumping ability of the cross country horse.

For this the horse must be very well trained and to the best of its ability in these competitions.

In the same way, the rider must be able to control the passage and ride the cross country.

This is an obstacle course through a natural countryside landscape.

In the dynamics of this competition there are failures that translate into loss of score. Among them we can mention the following mistakes that are made along the way.

  • Do not jump when appropriate
  • Exceed the time limit
  • Fall off the horse, among others.

The rider according to his ability and that of his partner has the possibility of choosing an easier and longer route or a shorter and more complex one.

Cross Country Riding Purpose
Cross Country Riding Purpose


Elements of Cross Country

To carry out this competition, you must have a large space and prepare it for this purpose. This means conditioning a large natural space with terrain irregularities and adding competition-specific obstacles

Tours commonly take the rider through fields and forests. Well these are the ideal spaces for the execution of cross country competitions

The obstacles to be achieved by the magical duo who dares to participate in this complex discipline are the fences. Well, these try to imitate the obstacles that are found when riding through the field, such as hedges, walls, water, among others.

These are solid and do not yield if we collide with them, that is, obstacle do not fall. This last feature makes this discipline more difficult than others

On the other hand it is likely to get obstacles when going down or up hills. Taking as a reference if you chose the long and easy path or the more difficult and short one


Other names given to the Cross Country

The equestrian sport called Cross Country is also known by names like

  • Equestrian jumping country cross
  • Hunter trials

This is a competition made up of three disciplines of horsemanship, being one of the most complex and demanding for the horse – rider pair.

It can also be a competition in its own right, known as hunter trials or simply cross country

The purpose of this competition is to test lightness, firmness and the ability to jump over obstacles.

Similarly, it demonstrates the rider’s knowledge of rhythm and the use of this horse.

2012 Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event: Cross Country

Fouls that may be grounds for penalty or elimination

In relation to falls, it has the following consequences:

  • If the rider falls off the horse, it is reason for elimination of the competition
  • In the event that the horse fall is quarter and touches shoulder ground will result in mandatory retirement


Another factor that may be a cause of penalization are:

  • Each second started above the optimal time, rounded to the nearest second: 0.4 sanctions / sec
  • If the authorized time is exceeded (2 × the optimal time) they are excluded from the competition
  • In the United States, going too fast for the level will lead to speed “Failures” : 0.4 penalties / s for each second under the speed failure time
  • Trying to increase one’s time to avoid speed mistakes: This action has 20 penalty points
  • Rider without headgear or a harness strap attached
  • Advance another pilot in progress, putting others and himself at risk.
  • Intentional obstacle of an overtaking competitor
  • If you do not freeze on the road when indicated


Cross country riding a comprehensive discipline.

Cross country as an equestrian discipline is complex because it combines three disciplines in one. Without a doubt this requires a level of training and endurance for both the rider and the horse.

This discipline contains, as an important element, the show jumping, which is the favorite equestrian sport of Gustavo Mirabal and his wife Carolina Chapellín.

So at some point they can be encouraged to compete in cross country. It’s important to take into account proper preparation in the other disciplines that make up cross country.

To finish we leave a video of Gustavo Mirabal Castro




If you want to know more about Gustavo Mirabal or Equine World, go to: