Your First Mini-Event as a Cross Country Jump Judge

This course is designed for volunteers who are either about to go to their first Mini-Event as a Cross Country Jump Judge or are considering volunteering for this role and want to learn more about it first.  In this course, we are going to define the term Mini-Event, list the Roles and Responsibilities of the Cross Country Jump Judge, discuss what to bring (and what not to bring) to a Mini-Event, describe what to expect on the day of the Mini-Event and supply you with some additional resources where you can learn more about Cross Country Jump Judging.  


Thank you!

First things first - THANK YOU for volunteering.  There are two groups of people who make the Mini-Events possible, the competitors and the volunteers, and the Mini-Events need a lot of both.  Without people like you, this show series just would not be possible.  

What is a Mini-Event?

Mini-Events are the entry point into the world of Combined Training or Eventing.  They are schooling shows that are designed to allow new riders and horses to learn and grow.  Each horse and rider will compete in all three phases of the event: Dressage, Cross Country Jumping and Stadium Jumping.  Because our show is a learning opportunity we strive to be fair but positive, especially out on the Cross Country Course.  

What are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Cross Country Jump Judge?

Primary Responsibilites

1.  Observe each rider and YOUR obstacle.  

2.  Determine if there are any faults.

3.  Record the result, be sure to make clear notes on any faults.

Other Responsibilites

1.  Make sure that each rider has a safe and clear path to your jump

2.  Notify the team if a jump is in need of repair 

3.  Provide prompt assistance in case of fall or accident 

4.  Have Fun!

What to Bring (and Not Bring) to the Mini-Event

What we will provide for you

When you arrive at the Cross Country Jump Judge Meeting you will be given the following things:

  • Clipboard with scorecards, schedule, course maps, and rules for cross country
  • A two-way radio
  • Multiple pens
  • A cooler with water and a couple of snacks

What you should bring

Make sure to bring the following things with you on the day of the Mini-Event:

  • A folding chair
  • Appropriate clothing for the weather (dress in layers and consider bringing rain gear).
  • Protection from the sun (sunscreen and hats are preferred over umbrellas and tents).  
  • Shoes that are suitable for being around horses.

Please leave these at home

Please leave the following items at home:

  • Dogs - your pooch on course might distract the rider or spook the horse, best to leave Fido at home.
  • Sandles - if a rider falls off and you have to hold their excited horse your toes will thank you for leaving the sandles at home.  
  • Music - noise over speakers, can be distracting to the competitor.  If you are using earbuds, you might miss an important message over the radio.  


Use this checklist when packing for your first Mini-Event


Weather appropriate clothing (layers)

Rain Gear


Sun protection (hat, sunscreen)

Bug Spray

Appropriate shoes 





What to Expect on the Day of the Mini-Event

Meeting with Technical Delegate and Organizer

There is no need to be worried because you are unfamiliar with the rules.  The Technical Delegate and Organizer will review all the rules and how to fill ou the scorecard at a meeting before the first horse goes on course.

A couple of days before the Mini-Event, the volunteer coordinator will contact you to let you know what time to arrive at the clubhouse.  It is very important to be on time.  At this meeting, you will meet your jump judge partner.   We always try to partner new jump judges with veterans so they can share their knowledge with you too.  You will also find out what jumps you are assigned to and the Technical Delegate will review all of the rules with you and how to fill out the scorecards.  

After the meeting, you will want to gather up your stuff and quickly move out to the course.  

On Course!

The Organizer has likely marked a place where she thinks you will best be able to see your jumps on your map, but if you don't know where to get the best view, the Organizer and Technical Delegate will be happy to help you find the best place.  Once everyone is in place the first horse will start the course.

You and your partner will work together to judge each jump and fill out the scorecards, which are collected between each division.  If at any time you have a question or concern help is only a radio call away. 

Finally, remember, Cross Country Jumping is fun.  Enjoy yourself.

Online Resources

More Resources

The Show Organizer and Technical Delegate will teach you everything that you need to know about the rules on the day of the Mini-Event, but if you want to get a head start, you can get more information from the United States Eventing Association at  For an abbreviated version of the rules and guidelines for Cross Country Jumping you can go to