British Eventing (BE) is to introduce pre-novice plus classes (PNP) next season to help competitors bridge the gap between pre-novice and novice level.

PNP competitors will do a novice dressage test, show jumping between pre-novice and novice height (1m, with two fences up to 1.10m), and pre-novice cross-country (1m).

“The classes are to encourage people who find the jump between pre-novice and novice show jumping too big,” said BE director of sport Mike Etherington-Smith. “People have asked us for this.”

Student Angharad Lawrence, 24, is one rider who welcomes the move.

“With the dangers of the cross-country, this allows people to move up to the next level while still doing pre-novice cross-country,” she said.

“My mare is unlikely to make the step up to novice cross-country because she is quite small and finds the distances difficult, so this class will be perfect for her.”

As H&H went to press five events were listed on the BE calendar as running PNPs, but Mike said more may be added if organisers want them.

The programme of pre-intro training classes, trialled at two events in 2007, is also being extended. There will be eight training events, at 80cm, in 2008, sponsored by Tri-Zone boots.

The events will follow the format used at the second training event last year, in which an accredited trainer walks the courses with competitors and gives advice in the warm-up for all three phases.

“We got exceptional feedback from this,” said Robert Mackenzie, regional director for the south where both trials took place. “It was good to see people improve with the help of the trainer, and if people enter BE through this route, it’s so much safer as they are taught the right way to do everything.”

There will also be more CIC*s (the lowest level of international one-day event) this year, at competitor request.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (3 January, ’07)