Riding In most competitions, pentathletes in the Youth Divisions do not compete in riding. Sometimes, however, Youth A competitors can ride if they choose. In the riding discipline, the pentathlete must ride an unfamiliar horse over a show jumping course of 12 obstacles up to 120 cm (3.9 feet) high and up to 130 cm (4.3 feet) wide, including one double and one triple. The course designer sets an optimum time for completing the course, which is about 350 to 450 meters long. Horses are matched to pentathletes by a draw. Then pentathletes are allowed 20 minutes and five practice fences to warm up. All competitors begin the course with 1,200 points. From this score, points are deducted for refusals, knockdowns, going over the allowed times, etc. Please see the Rulebook for a list of all rules and penalties. Since Youth competitors do not ride in competition, riding is not emphasized in training. However, since Youth can be moved up to Senior divisions, and since at age 19, competitors will be expected to jump strange horses over four-foot fences, some preparation is necessary for safety. Riding is a dangerous sport, even for those who are well-trained. Pentathletes need to be good riders, for safety as well as for good scores.
Here are the coaches that West Coast pentathletes currently use:
San Francisco Bay Area
Sonoma Coastal EquesTraining
3809 Springhill Rd
Petaluma CA 94952
Colorado Springs, CO
MM Equestrian Center
PO BOX 572 Fountain, Colorado 80817
U.S. Olympic Equestrian Coach
Equestrian Centers International
35-050 Via Josefina
Regency Horse Park
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
Riding Training Plan
Here is an outline for riding training in the first year of an athlete’s pentathlon life developed by Janusz Peciak, Barry Matchett and Elaine Cheris.
This program is designed for athletes over age 13 who have a swimming background. (This regimen is not suitable for those under 14, unless they have shown strong willingness to work in the past.)
- Sport priorities: 1) Fencing 2) Shooting 3) Running and lifting 4) Swimming 5) Riding
- Months 1-6: There is no emphasis on riding until Month 7.
- Competition: There should be a four-sport competition (no riding) at the end of Month 6, with parents invited. Lots of analysis and feedback are necessary to detect training weaknesses, and to determine where training needs for the next six-month period.
- Months 7-12: Ride – introduction to horses as schedule permits
Athletes over age 13 who come from a non-swimming background should follow this program.
- Sport priority list: 1) Swim 2) Fence 3) Shoot and weight lift 4) Run 5) Ride
- Months 1-6: No emphasis on riding until Month 7.
- Competition: Same event as in Program One, with closer attention paid to the swimming.
- Months 7-12: Ride – introduction to horses as schedule permits.