The British Eventing (BE) season begins this weekend (6 March), and thanks to the popular day ticket initiative and “intro” level classes, it has never been easier, or cheaper, to take the plunge into affiliated competition.

Adult riders, who are competing successfully at riding club level one-day events over courses of around 3ft in height, should feel confident to try their hand at an affiliated intro class, for which the maximum height of fences is 90cm (just under 3ft).

Day tickets

Day tickets enable riders to compete at an affiliated event without the considerable financial investment associated with becoming a full BE member.

The BE day ticket system has been changed for 2004, with riders and horses having separate tickets. A rider can purchase up to four rider tickets in one season at £8 each, while an unregistered horse can run unlimited times on horse tickets at £12 each. This means a non-member wishing to compete on an unregistered horse will need to purchase both types of tickets, costing a total of £20.

British Eventing’s Kirsty Norwood explains: “The decision to change the day tickets system was made to make the system more flexible. It enables a non-member to compete on a registered horse, or a BE member to run an un-registered horse, as well as giving partnerships who have never competed affiliated a simple way to enter.”

Rules and regulations

Any rider wishing to participate in affiliated eventing must be at least 16 years old, riding a horse aged five years or over, which is at least 148cms high. All competitors should download a copy of the current BE rulebook from the British Eventing website before entering an event.

Most riders will need to purchase some extra kit to compete at affiliated level. In addition to a hard hat and body protector, which conform to current BE rules, riders must have a medical card and armband (£4 from BE) and number bib (£9.50 from BE).

Once you have all the necessary equipment, entry fees for intro competitions cost just under £50, with every rider also being required to pay a starting fee of £10 on the day.

Avoiding the ballot

One problem associated with the most popular affiliated events is that they can become over-subscribed, in which case a ballot will take place to decide which riders will compete.

Experienced competitors have found that offering their assistance, as a jump judge for example, at an event on a day when they are not competing, can help them avoid being balloted out. Jump judging is also an invaluable way of learning from other riders’ skills and mistakes, which will stand you in good stead for future competitions.

  • A full fixture list, detail of how to enter and the BE rule book, which includes full details of the correct turnout for horse and rider, are available on the British Eventing website: www.britisheventing.com