Eventing is the ultimate test of a horse and rider – comprising three disciplines, Dressage, Cross Country and Show Jumping, the scores from each combine to produce an overall total.
Eventing (also known as Horse Trials) takes place over one, two and three days depending on the level of competition. Evolving from the training of cavalry horses the sport is rather like a pentathlon in that it combines different disciplines in one competition and is run on a cumulative penalty basis.
Eventing is one of very few sports where professionals and amateurs compete on a level playing field with even the most experienced riders having to start at the lower levels with the young horses. Eventing is an Olympic discipline and is amongst just a handful of sports where men and women are considered entirely equal – there is no distinction or single sex classes.
The first test is the dressage, which comprises a set sequence of compulsory movements in an area 20m wide and 60m long (40m long at lower level competitions). The test is scored by one or more judges who are looking for balance, rhythm, suppleness and most importantly, the obedience of the horse and its harmony with the rider.
The show jumping phase is one round of jumping over coloured poles with a maximum time allowed and the objective to jump a clear round inside the time.
The third phase is the cross country where a course of natural obstacles, normally over several miles, has to be jumped within a time allowed. A good cross country horse must be bold and straight as well as fast.
Harry Dzenis is a 26 year old event rider. He has had a coveted place on the UK Sport Lottery funded World Class development programme which identifies world class talent, and helps to produce performance on the world stage.
Harry comes from a horse orientated background with his mother having ridden to top level in pure dressage. Since a young age Harry has loved horses and taken part in all Pony Club activities, becoming his Pony Club’s first member in nearly 10 years to reach the National Championships at Sansaw Park in August 2006, where he placed in the top three.
At the age of 13 Harry started affiliated Eventing and was selected to represent the South East region at the Junior Regional Championships at Weston Park from 2004-2006, becoming their highest placed team member in 2005.
By the age of 16 Harry had achieved his first European Gold Medal at the Junior European Championships in Avenches, Switzerland. At 18, he won his second European Gold medal at the Young Rider European Championships in Waregem, Belgium.
Harry has been placed in both International and National competitions since 2004. In 2005 he was the youngest ever qualifier for the British Intermediate Championship and since then has continued to qualify horses for the British Novice, Intermediate and Open Championships.
After winning his second European Gold, Harry was offered the position of stable jockey for International Event Trainer Niki Ryan where he produced and competed on a wide range of horses from youngsters through to advanced.
Harry then returned home to his family run yard in Surrey and represented Great Britain for the third time at Blair Castle at the 2011 Young Rider European Championships on Rockin Robin. 2012 was another great year for Harry, jumping a double clear in the CCI3* at Blenheim and gaining a qualification for a CCI4*.
In 2013 Harry was offered the opportunity to base himself with William Fox-Pitt. He learnt a huge amount and rode some of the best event horses in the world. On a personal level he was placed 9th in the CCI3* at Blenheim, one of many good results that year.
2014 was a big year: Harry passed a landmark, a CCI4* completion – or two, to be precise. He rode both Xam and Dromgurrihy Blue to finish the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, possibly the toughest 4* in the world. In so doing, he took home the prize for the best U25 rider.
Xam took Harry round his first Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials the following year, the pair completing another Burghley in 2016 – with clear cross country rounds on both occasions. Watch this space to see what 2017 will bring…