Do you know your C’s in horse sports?

Por Horse TV
NEWS | Lifestyle

CSIO, CDI-Y, CNC… We know it. C’s in equestrian sports can be confusing. It is easy to get them mixed up when they are so similar. However, they are practical for distinguishing different sports and understanding their differences. 

The first C normally stands for Concours and then the rest varies according to the horse sport. In this article, we will help you understand the most common Cs you’ll see in showjumping, dressage or eventing competitions.


Show Jumping

CSI stands for Concours de Saut International. These competitions are run under international FEI rules. They use a star system to distinguish them by speed and height. Also, FEI has specific guidelines regarding eligibility at CSI3*, 4* and 5* shows.

  • CSI5*: Prize money CHF 500,000 (around €456,000) and horses must be at least 7 years old. They must ride at least 400 meters per minute.
  • CSI4*: Prize money CHF 250,000 to 499,999 (around €228,090 to €455,999) and horses must be at least 7 years old. They must ride at least 400 meters per minute.
  • CSI3*: Prize money CHF 100,000 to 249,999 (around €91,237 to €228,089) and horses must be at least 7 years old. They must ride 375 meters per minute.
  • CSI2*: Prize money CHF 50,000 to 99,999 (around €45,620 to €91,236) and horses must be at least 6 years old. The maximum height is 1.45m and speed is 350 meters per minute.
  • CSI1*: Prize money of CHF 49,999 or lower (around €45,619). In addition, maximum height is 1.40m and as in the second category, horses must be at least 6 years old and speed is 350 mpm.


Grand Prixes are the highest level of showjumping. Horses jump a course of 10 to 16 obstacles, with heights up to 1.6 meters that spread up to 2 meters. These competitions include the Olympics, the World Equestrian Games and other internationally ranked events.

  • CHIO: Official International Competition including a Nations Cup competition that has more than one equestrian discipline. Examples of this are the CHIO Aachen, which has dates confirmed already.
  • CSIO: Official International Competition. This includes Nations Cup competitions.
  • CSI-W: International show jumping event with a Show Jumping World Cup competition.
  • CSIP/CSICh/CSIJ/CSIY/CSIU25/CSIV: These are for pony riders, children, juniors, young riders, under 25 and veterans.
  • CSIAm/CSIL/CSIYH: For Amateurs, Ladies only and for young horses.



CDI stands for Concours de Dressage International. These are recognised by FEI, the governing body of equestrian sports. Just as in show jumping, dressage uses a star system to identify events. The star ratings also relate to the level of judges present or the prize money.

  • CDI1*: Up to FEI Intermediate I, including Intermediate I Freestyle.
  • CDI2*: Up to FEI Grand Prix.
  • CDI3*: FEI Grand Prix, including FEI Grand Prix Special and FEI Grand Prix Freestyle.
  • CDI4*: FEI Grand Prix including Special and Freestyle. Medium and small tour may also be scheduled.
  • CDI5*: FEI Grand Prix including Special and Freestyle. Small and medium tours may also be scheduled.


Small Tour – Prix St Georges (PSG) and Intermediate I.

Medium Tour – Intermediate A and Intermediate B.

Big Tour – Intermediate II, Grand Prix (GP), Grand Prix Special (GPS), and Grand Prix Freestyle (also referred to as Kur).


CDI-W, CDI-Y, CDI—U25, CDI-J, CDI-Ch, CDI-P, CDI-YH are similar to the case of showjumping, but instead of an ‘S’ for Saut (jumping), they included a ‘D’ for Dressage.

In dressage, judges also receive different stars to indicate what type of events they are qualified to judge. 5* is the top category and means they are qualified to judge all international competitions, while 2* is the newest one and it means they are licensed to judge a limited range of international competitions.



CCI stands for Concours Complet International. Events in this category normally last three days and follow FEI Rules. 

There are four categories: 1*, 2*, 3* and 4*. These affect both horse and rider. CIC on the other hand stands for Concours International Combiné and is held over one day, meaning it is shorter. These have 3 stars.



  • Cross Country: 110cm
  • Jumping height: 115cm
  • Rider age: At the beginning of the calendar year, they turn 14
  • Horse age: 6


  • Cross Country: 115cm
  • Jumping height: 1.20cm
  • Rider age: At the beginning of the calendar year, they turn 16
  • Horse age: 6


  • Cross Country: 120cm
  • Jumping height: 125cm
  • Rider age: At the beginning of the calendar year, they turn 18
  • Horse age: 7

Besides CCI and CIC, there are also CCN and CNC. These stand for national events, but the same applies: CCI is a three-day event and CNC a one-day event. The EV80, EV95 and EV105 classes are dedicated to children 8 to 13 years old.

Is everything a bit clearer? Understanding our Cs in horse competitions can be really useful to understand the level of difficulty riders experience. Leave us a comment on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

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