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General Spectators

Location & Logistics

  • What time do the gates open?

    • Although the exact timing of the event has not yet been set, the gates will open around 2 hours before the activities are scheduled to begin. For general admission, you want to come early to get a good seat. Also, keep in mind that we have a great set of vendors and you should leave time to see what they have to offer.  We are also offering K-9 safety-focused programming throughout the weekend.  Please see our Schedule of Events to stay abreast of timing (all times subject to change).



  • What happens if it rains?

    • One big difference between eventing and most other equestrian disciplines is that the show goes on during rain. Only in the case of lightening or torrential rains that make riding unsafe would there be a temporary cessation of the activities.

  • What is ‘general admission’ seating?

    • General Admission Seating is first come, first served available seating and viewing around our arena and on the cross country course. You are welcome to bring blankets and picnic chairs for seating. You may bring umbrellas for shade but we reserve the right to ask you to put them down if it gets windy and/or they disturb the horses. 

Parking, How to Get Around,  & Disabled Services/Seating

  • Where do I go to get into the event?

    • All spectator parking is accessed through Gate 7 on Old Tavern Road.  You can purchase a ticket at the gate or buy a weekend pass in advance here.  Once at Gate 7, you will be directed to General Admission parking on Fleming Farm hill.  It is a short walk to competition viewing areas from the parking.

  • Can I bring Golf Carts, ATVs, motorcycles, mopeds, segways or any other motorized vehicle?

    • These may NOT be brought onto Great Meadow property during the Great Meadow International.

  • What special arrangements are there for those that are disabled?

    • ​We have several handicap spaces available at no additional charge.  These spaces are closest to a handicap restroom facility but are not guaranteed better viewing or seating for the event.


What To Bring

  • Can I bring my own food and drinks?

    • Food and beverages will be available for purchase onsite from vendors or you may bring your own. A list of the food trucks will be available before the event. We do ask that you not bring glassware and clean up after yourself to help keep Great Meadow beautiful.

  • What should I NOT bring?

    • Tents, Firearms, glass, and tables to be used in areas that are not designated for tailgaiting. 

Competition Questions

  • What in the world am I watching!?

    • Eventing is a Triathalon because it tests a horse and rider combination in three disciplines: Dressage, Endurance, and Jumping. The scores for the three phases are then combined for a final placing. Visit the US Eventing Association website for more information. 

  • What is the point of the horses trotting, walking and cantering around inside that silly little white fence?

    • That is Dressage, the first phase of the competition. This tests a horse's obedience to the rider. All riders in a division perform the same set of movements or test, and they are judged on impulsion (the desire to move forward), submission, harmony, and ease of movements. Just because this phase looks simple, don't be deceived. These horses are very fit and would much rather be galloping than trotting 10-meter circles. Dressage is a sport of finesse, so take a few minutes to admire the horse/rider team as they perform. ​

  • What is cross country?

    • Cross-country is the real heart of Eventing. This is the part of the sport that really separates it from all other equine disciplines. The horses are required to jump obstacles that they have never seen, relying totally on their trust in the riders. Sometimes the horse can't even see what is on the other side of the jump! They jump because they want to and because they trust their riders

  • How do you know the horses want to jump?

    • This is a demanding sport that requires a very special horse. If the horse wasn't willing, there would be no way to force it to do this. The horse and rider teams competing here are true partnerships.

  • If the cross country is so demanding why do they also jump in a ring?

    • This phase is called show jumping or stadium. In some competitions it is the last phase but in others, such as this one, it is the second pahse. This phase requires the added difficulty of accurate jumping. If the horses don't jump accurately, the fences fall down, adding penalty points to the scores. To be suc­cessful in this phase, the horse must jump boldly and carefully. The final placings of an Event are sometimes determined by the number of rails knocked down in Show Jumping. This can be a real heart-stopper for spectators.

  • What is the best part of the competition to watch? 

    • All of it! Each phase has its own unique challenges. To truly get a feel for the sport, try to watch a little bit of all of the competition. Cross-country is probably the most exciting but requires some trekking to get to some of the fences. Show Jumping is easier to watch and pro­vides its own thrills. Don't overlook Dressage though; it may be quiet, but it effectively shows the grace and beauty of these equine athletes. Savor some of all the thrills that Eventing has to offer and enjoy the show!

  • How much noise can I make during the competition?

    • It varies. At times the spectator etiquette at equestrian competitions closely parallels that of major golf tournaments. Undue noises can cause distractions to horses and riders and can affect the outcome of the competition or cause an accident. This is true during dressage and show jumping. Hold your applause until after a competitor exits the dressage arena or finishes their stadium course. Cross country is a different story, You can shout and support your rider but wait until after they complete a jump. 

  • If a rider looks lost on a cross country course or show jumping or even their dressage test what assistance can I give them?

    • Do not assist a competitor while they are doing any of the three phases of the competition. Providing assistance to a rider during competition, whether solicited or not, is FORBIDDEN under penalty of the competitor’s elimination. Shouting instructions and giving directions is considered unauthorized assistance. However you are permitted to: i) Catch a loose horse; ii) Help a rider remount after a fall, and iii) Hand a rider any part of his/her equipment either mounted or dismounted

  • Who has the right of way on cross country?  Me or the horse?

    • Horses always have the right of way. Horses and riders are participating in a very demanding sport and will be moving at high speeds across country. A rider is not responsible for avoiding collisions with spectators. It is your responsibility to stay out of the way of horse and rider. Always look both ways before moving and stay alert for directions from mounted stewards, fence stewards and fence judges. The officials and jump judges have full authority so please respect them.

  • How close can I get to the Dressage and Show jumping arena and the cross country course.

    • Stay a safe distance back from the dressage arenas and jumping efforts. You can be a distraction if you are too close. The galloping track on cross country and the area around all marked obstacles must be kept clear at all times.

  • ​May I move when I see a horse?

    • Yes, you can, but be still when in the line of sight of an approaching horse. Sudden movements of umbrellas, strollers or a crowd can be distracting to horses. An innocent movement can affect the outcome of the competition or result in an accident. Horses startle easily and are frightened of things they don’t recognize.

  • What if I have questions?

    • Do not hesitate to ask questions of volunteers and officials. If you are unsure of any of the rules or just have general questions about the competition the staff will be happy to assist you.


Miscellaneous Policies 

  • What is the smoking policy?

    • In order to keep Great Meadow pristine, we ask that you do not smoke on our premises.


  • Disturbing fellow patrons with loud conversation or inappropriate behavior is not permitted and may result in removal from the performance without a refund.


  • Violation of Great Meadow International rules may result in removal from the performance without refund and/or prosecution.


  • Shirts and shoes are required and must be worn at all times.


  • Keep a close watch on small children. Children are not aware of the danger that horses present.  Horses will be traveling at speed this weekend and they may not see your child.


  • Observe the crowd control markers. You must stay at least 15 meters away from the dressage arenas. For your own safety and that of the riders, stay behind marked barriers and ropes and keep clear of the area around each cross country fence. Crossing the cross country course is permitted, but always make sure that a horse is not coming and heed instructions from the crossing guards.

  • Be considerate of the site. Please use trash receptacles and respect the roped botanical areas.

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