USEA Organizer rules- ride times/scheduling

Is there a rule for organizers for how much time between they need to allow between dressage and the jumping phases?

I had a rider scheduled this weekend with 38 minutes between her dressage test start and when she is due in the jump arena. The test itself will take 5-6 minutes, and allowing for 15 minutes warmup for jumping and the time it takes to walk back to the trailer, that allows for exactly 3 minutes to change tack, change clothes, and put studs in.

Of course I already emailed the show secretary to nicely ask if we could have a little more time, and they shifted us… by 10 minutes. It’s doable with help on the ground of course, but I am just curious if there is any rule about how much time there is supposed to be between dressage and jumping.

Mostly just curious! Someone else I talked to thought they had heard there was a rule, but I looked up the USEA rulebook but didn’t see anything.

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Appendix H;

  1. If you have a large number of horses to run through in one day, you will need to
    start cross-country fairly early. Depending on the time of year your event runs, the
    rising sun and/or setting of the sun could mandate these times. If dressage and
    cross-country run on the same day make sure a competitor does not leave the
    dressage arena and gallop immediately to the start of cross-country. You can build
    in breaks in the cross-country schedule or schedule cross-country start intervals
    further apart to give more time between the two. Besides the fact that everyone
    likes to change into their cross-country attire, there is often a real necessity for
    time to change due to tack, cloths, studs, etc. Any competitor realizes that at a
    one-day or two-day horse trials with 120 or more competitors he/she may not
    have the luxury of an hour or more between their dressage ride and cross-country
    starting time. 30 minutes is the absolute minimum necessary for the rider to be
    able to get themselves and the horse prepared for cross-country. Competitors that
    ride multiple horses don’t mind a quick email or phone call to talk about
    scheduling possibilities and how quick they might be able to change from one to
    the other.

They seem to have limited their guide to 3DEs, and you’re on your own for “Tests” and “Horse Trials”.

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I don’t see anything mentioning this specifically in Appendix H??

Yeah, that’s pretty crazy @mdp9! In this case it would be better to put studs in beforehand and maybe do dressage in the jump saddle?

I did an HT last weekend (Old Tavern, a brand-new HT at Great Meadow), and there was only an hour between dressage and jumping - with a goodly distance between the two. I had latish times, so was parked allllll the way down the “row” - and there would not have been time to go back to the trailer. Dressage was on grass so studs were already in, and my poor husband (who is 6’4" and 280#) schlepped my jump saddle, jump bridle, boots, other helmet, pinny, armband, watch, and jumping bat to dressage (luckily I had a friend who was kind enough to video dressage), and we changed out everything under a tree. Luckily my mare is very good and quiet which made this a piece of cake :wink:, and I got to the jump ring in plenty of time.

One year the Area Training Championships were at Waredaca; it had “rained like a MoFo” (as is typical there) a couple of days before the HT, and they were running the T 3-Day - so the footing was so trashed that they decided to move the Championships to the following weekend.

We had to get there early enough to walk the course(s), put in studs, tack up for dressage, ride our test, do a quick tack and clothing change, and be ready for SJ (then straight to x-country) about 40 minutes after our dressage ride time. Luckily since the only competitors were the TCH folks there were maybe 25 rigs parked - so less of a hike to the rings. I had a couple of additional sets of hands (students) who were able to help me get everything done efficiently and the whole HT was over from start to finish in less than an hour! No victory gallop, but we were all just grateful that they were able to get all the officials and volunteers back just for us :blush:

Loch Moy has Twilight Eventing in the summer where you basically run all phases one after the other. I’ve done 3 of these (one with no help), and it required some creativity: studs in beforehand, dressage in jump saddle, use same bridle for jumping (they allowed boots in the dressage test IIRC), wear body protector down to the dressage ring (and carry jumping bat and running martingale), drop them under a tree, then beg someone to hold horse while running up to the secretary for pinny - once through with dressage, grab all jumping stuff, put vest on and head to SJ warmup. They are INCREDIBLY helpful and accommodating there, and put these on so that people can “school” a HT - not timed, no ribbons, etc. I was able to beg a water from the SJ steward while waiting for my turn, and they had a water cooler with paper cups; riders were downing water “on the go” and tossing the cups (picked up by volunteers.)

NOT my preference in terms of scheduling (especially at my age since my back and legs need a bit of a break, even 30 minutes is good), but the whole HT sure is over quickly!

I’m wondering whether @Janet can weigh in here?

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Any competitor realizes that at a one-day or two-day horse trials with 120 or more competitors he/she may not have the luxury of an hour or more between their dressage ride and cross-country starting time. 30 minutes is the absolute minimum necessary for the rider to be able to get themselves and the horse prepared for cross-country


Agree with what everyone said. Right now my jump saddle is my dressage saddle. At a schooling show this past weekend, I studded my guy prior and used a saddle pad that was white, square in the back but was for a jumping saddle so I just went back to the trailer, threw his boots on, threw a vest on and off we went. 38 min certainly isn’t ideal though and I usually need a beer before cross country so…

Ah, gotcha.

Yeah, Yeesh! I can’t imagine having 30 minutes between phases, don’t think that’s even doable unless you are parked really close to the competition rings and/or have a helper who can help you do a super quick tack change.

It would not be my first choice, but I think I would rather have 30 min between phases than 4-7 hours!

The closest I’ve come to 30 min was also MDHT Twilight and I have always managed to do a quick tack change despite not having help. They’re pretty accommodating there if you end up running a little late. Worst case I’d do dressage in a jump saddle though.

Appendix H is interesting reading!

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Same area. The event in question here is MDHT. Yes we have been to many a Twilight which are designed to be quick changes to get through before dark. But this is a recognized horse trial!

Which, on a separate note, I’m minorly annoyed that they had said championship divisions would run stadium last, in reverse order of placings. But when ride times came out they were the typical dressage, then stadium followed by XC. My riders were looking forward to the more formal/exciting stadium finish. Alas, not so. I’m curious as to why, when the past several years the Area Champs have run usually over 2 days, but definitely with stadium last.

Volunteer and learn the rules :wink: and again…volunteer.


That is really disappointing. The Omnibus clearly says the Championship divisions will run stadium last. Does that mean they won’t do any formal awards ceremony? I’d definitely have your riders fill out an event evaluation form and complain about the change.

They were originally planning to have the upper levels go on Friday, but now they’ve put it all into 2 days - I wonder if that’s why they changed the plan. I’m jump judging Saturday and just saw the schedule that XC is going until 6 pm!

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They did the championships over 2 days in 2019, but in 2020 was all 1 (sj last), due to COVID. I guess that minimizes stabling needs.

No amount of volunteering = knowing all the rules. At least in my experience.

I think it is great that we (general) can come here and ask for rule clarifications from others.
I know in the past I have looked for something I was told was a rule (while volunteering) and I could not find it in the rule book. So I asked and got a clarification (that how I was being told was not actually a rule).


My point was poorly stated. Volunteer to make the schedule…and learn how complicated scheduling gets with wonky requests, riders with multiple horses, trainers riding in the same division as their students and they still want to coach in warm-up, but I’m driving in from xxx away please don’t schedule me early/late etc. and you will learn how hard it is to make everyone happy.

So yeah… 30 minutes at a minimum sucks but that’s the rule.

I bet anyone and everyone knows that making the schedule sucks and is crazy complicated.

I do like that this question has lead to lots of great tips on how to make what seems impossible work out for the OP. Hopefully they can put some of the ideas to use.


Yes, I saw the schedule change and I wonder if turning two days into one long one made it too difficult to also have the regular vs. championship divisions run in a different order? I still have 3.5 hours between dressage and SJ though.

Thank you so much for volunteering!! I will be one of your later customers tomorrow and I appreciate you and others putting in the long day to allow me to have fun with my horse! :smiley:


You would be surprised and horrified at how wrong you are. There are some real jerks about schedules and prima donnas about their needs. Most people are lovely, but there are some real asshats.

I am sure there are lots of jerks. I have no doubt there are lots of jerks.

I also think those jerks DO know how hard scheduling is, they just do not care, and want to be accommodated anyway.

Everyone else knows it is hard and tries to be understanding of that.

Edit - sorry, fixed all my bad spelling/typing.


I enjoy jump judging (especially in nice weather!) so I’m sure it will be a great day. I was just a little surprised when I saw the schedule. Good luck tomorrow!


If you have a ground person, you could opt to have your jump tack waiting for you as you exit the dressage arena to save time.

WRT this weekends MDHT at Loch Moy-

They were originally planning to run Fri, Sat, Sun, but due to the number of entries they condensed it into two days. That made scheduling “Show Jumping last” impractical.

Stabling is full, so they would not have been able to accommodate running the championships over 2 days.

As far as I know, they ARE planning to have formal awards presentations (there is a "winners’ podium set up, and I know Area II is planning to have someone there to present the championship ribbons).

Looking forward to seeing you all this weekend, though preferably not in professional capacity (I am the Assistant TD).