If you’d like to start eventing but worry if your horse would lack the confidence to do so, how about starting him off with hunter trials.

Hunter trails are a fantastic way to start off a horse’s education on the way to going eventing.

It’s often a much less stressful, lower-key environment that’s ideal for younger or inexperienced horses, and you can gain that all-important cross-country experience without also needing to worry about a dressage test or a course of showjumps.

Doing a pairs class can be a good idea, but first make sure your partner is experienced and will jump round confidently – the last thing you want is for your horse to pick up any bad habits such as nappiness at certain types of fences.

Have a plan of action with your partner before you set off, so you know exactly who’s going where.

Some hunter trials have a timed section, others are judged against an optimum time, so find out what it is and practise your canter rhythm together out hacking.

Try not to overdo pairs classes – while it can be reassuring to have someone to follow, your horse needs to think for himself at some point.

Above all, enjoy it and make it a fun experience for your horse.

Think outside the box

What geographical resources do you have nearby? Beaches, hills, banks and streams are all great practice to build up your horse’s confidence for eventing.


It’s essential to have a solid foundation of basic fitness and schooling, before asking more of your horse. If you don’t you may have problems later on.

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