If you are going eventing, you will need to ride across country at a certain speed in order to achieve the optimum time. But how do you do it? How can you ensure you and your horse are travelling neither too slow nor too fast?

Here’s some helpful pointers from New Zealand international event rider, Jesse Campbell (pictured), who has several three- and four-star completions to his name:

1. Keep a good rhythm, being smooth on your approaches and riding tight lines is the foundation of achieving the time cross-country.

2. Walking your course effectively is key. Make sure you know where the more intense areas are, so you know whether you need to look to make up time elsewhere on the course.

3. Always know the optimum speed (metres per minute, mpm) of the level of competition you are doing — this will tell you the speed you should be aiming for.

4. Where you can, make sure you wheel the course and take note of where your minute markers are.

5. Wearing a stopwatch can be a helpful tool, but you need to know the rhythm you need to be in first. With our working pupils we practice wearing a watch at home and getting an idea of the pace they need to be at over a set distance.

6. Having good feel and interfering with your horse as little as possible fundamentally allows for the correct balance and rhythm when tackling a cross-country course. If you can achieve this within the correct pace, these are all the key ingredients for getting within the optimum time.

Credit: William Carey

Now you’ve got that advice in mind, take a look at these eventing competitions available to enter where you can put this advice into practice…

Hunter trial and team chase

Date: 23 September
Venue: Coxleigh Barton Equestrian Centre, Barnstaple
Details: “This is a fun and friendly have a go event. This competition is a local open event for combinations not to have been previously placed first in any cross-country event at above the height they are entering (if you have, you may still enter HC). Heights range between 50cm and 80cm with lead-rein, pairs and team chase options.”
Enter now

Hunter trial

Date: 30 September
Venue: Foresterseat Cross-Country, Perth
Details: “This competition has classes from 50cm to 110cm with adult and junior sections.”
Enter now

Mini one-day event

Date: 30 September
Venue: Cottingham Equestrian Centre, Cottingham
Details: “Test your skills across three phases with our mini one-day event. The cross-country course does not include water complexes or ditches. All three phases are held on grass and rosettes will be awarded to sixth place, with medals for those placed first to third. Heights range between 50cm and 85cm.”
Enter now


Date: 13 October
Venue: Grange Farm EC, Peterborough
Details: “This event offers classes ranging from 2ft up to 3ft3 with senior and junior sections.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated one-day event

Date: 14 October
Venue: Tumpy Green Equestrian Centre, Cam

his is an Open event, where a warm welcome awaits you. Please note size of show jumping and cross country phases is the maximum for that class. Courses will include some jumps that are below that maximum. Heights of classes range between 20-30cm and 85cm with lead-rein, junior and senior sections.”
Enter now

One-day event

Date: 14 October
Venue: Todburn Equestrian, Morpeth
Details: “Classes will range between 55cm and 90cm. The dressage will be on a surface with the cross-country following on immediately from the showjumping, all on grass.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated one-day event

Date: 26 October
Venue: Forest Edge Arena, Swaffham
Details: “Classes range between 50cm and 80cm with the option of choosing which phases you want to do, if you don’t want to participate in one or two of them.”
Enter now

Visit equo.co.uk for full competition and training listings