Ontario Eventing Association

Eventing 101 
Eventing (also known as three-day eventing or horse trials) is an equestrian event where a single horse and rider combination compete against other combinations across the three disciplines of dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. This event has its roots in a comprehensive cavalry test which required mastery of several types of riding.   One of the best ways to describe Eventing is an equestrian triathlon.

Phase 1: Dressage
Dressage is the figure skating of the equestrian world, where horse & rider perform a routine in an enclosed arena and are judged on their balance, rhythm, suppleness, and most importantly, the cooperation between horse and rider.

Phase 2: Cross-Country XC

While most 1-day events run the cross-country phase last, it is traditionally the second, and most challenging, phase in Eventing. It requires both horse and rider to be in excellent physical shape and to be brave and trusting of each other. This phase consists of approximately 12–25 fences which consist of very solidly built natural objects (logs, stone walls, etc.) as well as, various obstacles such as ponds, streams, ditches, drops and banks.  It is the ultimate test between horse and rider and is the most exciting phase of the sport.

Phase 3: Show Jumping 

Show jumping is the final phase of eventing competition and tests the technical jumping skills of the horse and rider, including suppleness, obedience, fitness and athleticism. In this phase, 12–20 fences are set up in a ring. These fences are typically brightly coloured and consist of elements that can be knocked down, unlike cross country obstacles.

Shandiss McDonald

My name is Shandiss McDonald and I’m a professional equestrian with my main focus being Three Day Eventing.

I grew up in Surrey, BC and that is where I got hooked on Eventing. Since then, I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to compete all over Canada, the United States and Europe. In 2012, I was chosen to be the reserve rider for the Canadian Eventing Team and travel with the team to the London Olympics with my horse Rockfield Grant Juan. It was an incredible experience! I finished 16th at Rolex Kentucky CCI**** in 2013 as well as a successful finish at Pau CCI**** the same year. I was given an opportunity to compete and train in England with my horses from 2013 to 2015 and that experience was invaluable to my equestrian education.

I’ve been fortunate to work with several top trainers from all over the world and I’ve used that knowledge and experience to help shape my own training and coaching program. I absolutely love to teach and I have an amazing group of students that compete in Dressage, Show Jumping, Hunters and Eventing.

In 2015, I purchased a training facility in Mono, Ontario and I’m grateful to have a talented string of competition horses and a passionate group of students that I’m helping move up through the levels.


Penny Rowland

For Penny Rowland, horses have played a pivotal role in her life for as long as she can remember.   Born in Edmonton, her first horse was an OTTB named “Oscar”, that she was given while going to university in Kenya.   Eventing is a passion that runs deep – and Penny is not only a rider and a coach, but she also volunteers her time to help develop up-and-coming riders, who one day will represent Canada on the international scene.   Her passion for riding lead to a career as a vet, and she owns and operates a successful veterinary service, Rowland Mobile Veterinary Service.  She also owns and operates Cranmore Farms with Dr. Usha Knabe, near Orangeville, ON.    She has competed internationally on some of the toughest and most prestigious courses in the world, including ROLEX,  Burghley and Blenheim.   She proudly represented Canada at the 2002 WEG  (World Equestrian Games) in Spain, and once again, at the 2003 Pan AM Games, bringing home a silver team medal    She is a familiar competitor on the North American eventing circuit and one cannot help but smile when she gallops by in her now-famous black and yellow colours.   Those who know Penny call her a dynamo – she gets stuff done! The word “cannot” does not exist in her world.   We are thrilled to have such an experienced international eventing ambassador as our clinician on Saturday, April 6th.   Watching Penny put riders and horses through their paces, you too will end up cheering “Go Canada Go” and may just end up taking a lesson from her.