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A Three Day Eventer’s Guide to Horse Trailers

Eventing is not for the faint of heart! Frankly, it’s the only equine sport that requires riders to wear their medical information on their arm to compete. Today, we’ll walk you through the levels of eventing and explain what you’ll need from a horse trailer at each level.

3-Day Basics

  • Day one is a dressage test designed to gauge a fresh horse’s level of obedience, training, and biomechanical “brilliance” of movement.
  • Day two is cross-country, which tests endurance, fitness, and jumping ability with miles of grueling gallops to solidly built fences, deep ditches, and water obstacles. There’s a reason cross-country fences are called “questions.” Each one poses challenges of width, scope, or versatility.
  • Finally, on day three, horse and rider tackle the timed demands of stadium jumping. We’re talking about high fences and tight turns, all while under the pressure of a time clock.

Yes, eventers, we know how you roll! And the team at Trails West Trailers has the right horse trailer for all three-day eventing levels. If you’re a parent of a young competitor or Pony Clubber, rest easy. You can compete for the first few years from a two-horse bumper pull trailer.

Beginner Novice & Novice Eventers: A 2-Horse Bumper Pull Will Do

The Beginner Novice and Novice phases of eventing include fences 2’7” and 2’11”, respectively. If you think a 2’6″ fence is small, try galloping at it on the back of a horse!

Many riders compete happily at these levels for years without feeling the need to advance. Just about any American Quarter Horse, smaller Thoroughbred, or grade horse can negotiate these competitions — and even bring home a ribbon sometimes — so long as they’re fit for three days of hardcore riding. When choosing a horse trailer for these lower levels, pick one that:

  • Has a tack room – Beginner Novice riders can compete in a single all-purpose saddle without embarrassment, but Novice riders will be thinking about at least two saddles.
  • Is big enough for the horse – Horses 16hh and larger will need a bigger trailer.

At these levels, the cost to compete is still low. Many competitors and their families stay in hotels and dine out. If you’re lucky enough to live near the showgrounds, you might even head home at night.

But Training Level is coming, and this is when the competition gets fierce.

Training Level Eventers: You Need 3 Tack Set-Ups, And You’re Thinking About A Bigger Horse

Training level is technically the last of the lower levels, and it’s the last level with no pre-requirements to compete. With fences at 3’3” and brush jumps pushing 4”, triple combinations, and a liverpool in the stadium, it’s time to start thinking about a real event horse.

  • Training level is exciting because you’ll get to compete against the students and future star horses of Olympic level equestrians.
  • You’ll likely brush elbows with famous competitors and trainers.
  • It’s also where you’ll start to see young horses — the Olympic hopefuls — worth many hundreds of thousands of dollars getting their mileage.

Facing the training level rigors, which prep you for hardcore eventing, many riders ease back to Novice and enjoy themselves. And that’s fine! But if you’re going to move up to Prelim, you’re going to need the right (read: big and expensive) horse, and a bigger, better horse trailer.

Preliminary Eventing: You Just Spent $30,000 On A Horse!

At Prelim and up, you’re riding with the big dogs. Prices vary around the US, but for a sound, experienced prelim horse, you’re looking at a minimum investment of $30,000.

Your prelim horse will be tackling fences nearing four feet with ease, and strikingly beautiful. He can also head over to USDF Dressage competitions and nail a first level test, so his training and carriage are terrific. He’ll probably be pushing 17hh! From here on out, you’ll need an 8-foot wide horse trailer with living quarters and a tack room.

  • Remember, this is a BIG horse.
  • You’ll need to keep at least three sets of tack, three outfits for show, and plenty of non-show clothes to groom and relax in.
  • You’ll surely be protecting your investment with all the other goodies too: boots and leg wraps, blankets and coolers, not to mention water from home.

Your Warmblood-sized horse trailer might seem like an investment, but you’ll save thousands of dollars on hotel rooms every year as you chase your dream to compete at the final Advanced levels.

Advanced Eventing: You Must Be Nuts!

Competitive equestrians in any discipline often joke about our sanity with our competitor-friends. Advanced eventers take crazy to a new level.

We think Heels Down Magazine says it best: “This is the level for the craziest of crazies and is the highest level of US eventing.” You’re riding against Olympians from around the globe, on their $200,000 horses. Even if you never compete at this level, it’s a heart-pounding experience, just to watch.

At Trails West Trailers, we know eventing. Contact us to learn more about any of the trailers featured in this article, and enjoy the rest of our blogs for competitive equestrians.