12-28-2011, 04:10 AM
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Red on Right. This applies to warm up fences, too--so be careful! You can be eliminated for that.
Basic rules: Check to make sure you're using appropriate gear (no illegal bits, spurs, whips, martingales, etc.).
For dressage, the rules include waiting for the signal to enter (you then have a certain amount of time to enter) and staying in the arena. Talking/vocalizing to your horse can be penalized as an error, and multiple errors are elimination. Leaving the arena during the test (horse jumping out) is elimination. The score is a percentage, which is subtracted from 100% to produce a penalty score.
XC: Wait until the start box volunteer counts you down, then pass out of the start box through the start flags. Jump every jump in order. You can get eliminated for jumping fences out of order (skipping jumps is the most common), jumping them backward, jumping the wrong fence [rules are specific on what you can and can't jump that's not on your course], "dangerous riding," failure to pass through required markers (including finish flags), three stops at one fence, four/five (depending on level) stops on the whole course, falling off, or going over the time limit. A refusal or run out is 20 penalties. The second at the same fence is 40. Coming in over the optimum time is .4 points/second. You can get speed faults for coming in too fast, too.
That's a very vague intro, but hopefully it helps! Have fun, be safe, and kick on.