Originally Posted by mliponoga
That is borderline abuse to me, sorry English people. Making a horse run at speed, jumps over and over again that if they miss can seriously damage them, whipping them to go faster, what's the point?
Eventing was originally a military test for mounted officer and his horse. The cross country phase tests not only bravery, but endurance and trust between the team as well. While yes, the horses are moving at a fairly quick pace at the upper levels, they're balanced on the approaches for each jump or else there would be no more horses to ride cross country on. The jumps themselves, especially now considering the past rotational falls, injuries, etc. are almost all made with frangible pins that (while the technology is not perfected) are designed to break under high amounts of force, I.e. A horse falling on one, etc. And most people worry more about clearing each jump, THEN they worry about time. It's not like riders are beating their horses constantly on course to make them run faster. At the upper levels these horses are in extremely good condition and if they weren't they would drop not even halfway through from exhaustion. At the lower levels, particularly novice and beginner novice (not sure what they're called elsewhere, sorry) horses are really just moving at a canter, novice horses at maybe a slightly more brisk canter. They're not racing headlong around course, that's why we have what's called a speed fault time, if you go too fast you WILL get penalized and you can even be disqualified if your riding is deemed unsafe.
While it might not seem like anything special/fun/etc. to you, to a lot of eventers it's a whole lot of fun and the sport is a tradition, like most equestrian sports. I don't understand the point of reining, or western pleasure, but I do understand that people who compete in those sports enjoy them so who am I to judge? No whole sport is abuse. Abuse comes from the riders, not the sport itself.