The Thai Polo & Equestrian Club has been consistently working towards the creation of a facility that is not just the premier sports arena of its kind in Thailand, but one that ranks highly anywhere in the world. As it stands, the Equestrian part of the complex has already achieved a number of notable successes covering all aspects of the sport.
The first test is Dressage. After a veterinary fitness inspection, a Dressage test is performed, the object of which is the harmonious development of the physique and ability of the horse. The test consists of a series of compulsory movements at walk, trot and canter gaits, within a rectangular arena. The Thai Polo & Equestrian Club is the only venue in Thailand to boast an International Standard full grass dressage arena.
For many spectators, the real focus of the event is on the Cross-Country test, the objective of which is to prove the speed, endurance and jumping ability of the horse, while at the same time demonstrating the rider’s knowledge of pace and the use of his/her horse. The club’s Cross-Country Course was carefully planned and built so as to be of value long after the completion of the SEA games. The first cross-country international event held under Federation Equestre International (FEI) rules took place here in August 2007.
Eventing originated with the cavalry arm of the army, its purpose to create a competition in which officers and horses could be tested for any challenges that could occur on or off duty. It also provided a basis to compare training standards between the cavalry of different countries.
Thai Polo & Equestrian Club created an international-standard, world-class, facility for equestrian sports and hosted its first international event in 2007, just two years after the club first opened. In fact, the CCI* Pattaya 2007 was the first international equestrian event ever held in Thailand. A second CCI* Pattaya International Three-Day event took place in 2008.
The club also hosted the Eventing section for the prestigious Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. Eventing competitions cover three disciplines: Dressage, Cross-Country and Jumping. There are individual and team competitions. Each competitor rides the same horse on separate and consecutive days.
The Jumping test takes place on the last day after a third veterinary inspection of the competing horses. Riders may voluntarily retire their horses if they seem unfit to continue. This test is run in reverse order of merit and its main objective is to prove the horses have retained their suppleness, energy and obedience in order to jump a course of 10 to 13 obstacles.
An International Standard-size show-jumping facility with FEI-standard fences and superb footing for all horses was established by the Thai Polo & Equestrian Club. In 2014 the club held the first Asian Derby Show Jumping course in the region.
Competition Categories: Star Level
One Star (*) is the introduction level for an international event, and is equivalent to regional games such as the SEA Games and Asian Games. Four Star (****) represents the highest level of difficulty in International equestrian competition and these events normally take place within the context of the World Equestrian Games in Europe, Australia, and the United States.
There are two main types of long distance riding, Endurance and Competitive Trail Riding. In an Endurance ride, the winning horse is the first one to cross the finish line, although it does stop periodically for a veterinary check to ensure the animal remains in good health and “fit to continue.” In the US, most endurance rides are either 50 or 100 miles long (80 to 160 kilometres), though shorter rides are organised for beginners. A few longer, usually multi-day rides exist. In the US, the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) sanctions endurance rides. Winning riders complete 100-mile rides in 10-12 hours.
Any breed can compete, but the Arabian generally dominates the top level because of the breed’s stamina and natural endurance abilities.
Competitive Trail Rides are shorter, and factors other than speed are considered. Horses may not come in under or over certain times, and veterinary checks, rider behaviour and other elements play a role in the placings.
Worldwide, rules vary. Endurance rides and races can be any distance, though rarely are they longer than 160 km for a one-day competition.