Eventing Penalties Explained

Updated: Jun 14, 2021

The winning score in eventing is the competitor with the lowest number of penalties over the three phases; Dressage, Showjumping, Cross Country. The dressage mark is converted into a penalty score. Subsequent jumping phases then add to the dressage score to give a final result. To be in with the best chance of a competitive placing the rider is aiming to finish on their dressage score (FOD)

  • Each movement in a dressage test is scored out of 10

  • The judge can use either whole or half marks for scoring

  • Some movements, such as free walk on a long rein, can be 10 x 2 (double marks)

  • The collective marks of the dressage test are for the overall picture and presentation of the test, each worth 10. Paces, Implusion, Submission and Rider

  • BE80 to Novice test are scored out of 200

Once the judge has given the marks, the total is turned into a percentage

The percentage is then taken away from 100 to give the final penalty score

A test marked at 130 will be converted to 65% resulting in 35 penalty score

Loosing Marks in a Dressage Test

As well as maximising your training to get the best marks in a test, be careful not to make any of these errors which which will cause further penalties

No callers. Tests must be performed from memory

No whips 6 you will be asked to drop the whip

No boots or bandages 6 you will be asked to remove them

Do not enter the arena before the bell 2

Entering arena 45secs after the bell 2 90secs before elimination

Not wearing gloves 2

  • The showjumping course is made up to 8-12 numbered fences

  • Combinations count as one fence

  • The aim is to complete the course within the time allowed without knocking any fences down or having a disobedience (stop or run out)

  • There are no marks for style, although the rider may be spoken to or eliminated if the ground jury deem there to be dangerous riding


Knockdown 4

First disobedience 4

Second disobedience 8

Every sec over time allowed 1

How to get Eliminated

Third disobedience

Fall of rider

Fall of horse

Resistance exceeding 20 secs

Failing got jump next fence within 45secs

Exceeding time limit (twice time allowed)

Error of course

Omission of fence or boundary flag

Re-taking an obstacle already jumped

Jump fence in wrong direction

After being stopped, continuing before the bell

Attempting alternative obstacle whilst disturbed obstacle is being rebuilt

Jumping obstacle not on course

Knocking the timing equipment

Re-attempting a disturbed obstacle before the bell

Not wearing appropriate hat

Failing to cross finish line mounted

Improperly leaving the arena

Receiving unauthorised assistance

Ignoring bell to stop during round

Failure to start 45secs after the bell

If you are eliminated from refusal or run out you are permitted to make up to two attempts to jump a single obstacle in the correct direction before leaving the ring

If you accumulate more than 24