Sara Green, who was re-elected rules and fixtures director at the British Dressage (BD) AGM, wants feedback from members on proposed rule changes.

“In the past, we’ve just announced changes. Now, we’re proposing ideas for consultation,” said Mrs Green at the meeting at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, on 6 June.

Suggestions include a change in the qualification procedure for regional championships and a new championship class to give top riders an opportunity to ride their young horses.

Currently, to be eligible for a regional championship a novice rider must win two qualifiers. BD is proposing a league system, rewarding consistent partnerships.

World Class rider Amy Stovold is unconvinced.

“You ought to have to win twice,” she said. “I kept coming second this year, but I could have tried again.”

But international rider Anna Ross Davies disagreed.

“It’s frustrating when good horses are pipped and others are qualifying when there is less competition,” she said.

A proposed “novice elite championship” would give top riders a class in which to ride their young horses not yet ready for medium level.

“I make no apology for banning grand prix riders from novices,” said Mrs Green. “But these riders could have a horse too old for young horse classes that is genuinely novice — this would provide them with a championship goal.”

Amy believed this idea has merit: “Owners should be able to put their horses with the riders they want and then see them at a championship other than young horse classes before they are ready for medium level,” she said.

BD is also considering preventing some venues from holding affiliated dressage to give new venues a chance.

“Deselection wouldn’t be done lightly,” said Mrs Green. “We first need a process to assess problems and help venues improve.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (18 June, ’09)