Some of Britain’s top event riders have found they are no longer qualified for Badminton. Changes to FEI eventing qualifications dictate that riders must complete a CIC*** if they are to participate in four-star events. The alterations have had an impact on riders who did not enter a CIC*** last season.

“Some people who thought they had obtained their qualifications for next year are now unqualified,” confirmed Paul Graham of British Eventing.

Under the new rules horse and riders who have obtained qualifying results at two CCI*** need not compete in a CIC***, as a qualification at a higher level is automatic qualification for the level below. But some riders failed to achieve such results last season, believing their results at advanced level would be sufficient for four-star qualification.

By putting more onus on CIC*** competitions, the FEI hopes to develop eventing in the eastern European block where national competitions are not up to the standards of western Europe.

“If it is compulsory to complete a CIC*** at least they will have jumped the height of international tracks,” Graham explains. “The FEI has good intentions. The changes are designed to better the standard of eventing.”

According to Graham, British Eventing was opposed to the rule changes, feeling there should have been a two-year grace period. “The changes are not designed to knock Britain where there is already a high standard of eventing, but they are having an effect on our qualifications,” he said.

But all is not lost. Riders will have the opportunity to qualify for Badminton at Burnham Market CIC*** or Fontainebleu CIC*** in the spring.

In the past riders have been reluctant to compete in CIC*** because of the added costs. The FEI charge a levy on international competitions making it impossible for British event organisers to lower entry fees. But now riders will have no choice but to pay up if they want to qualify for CCI*** and CCI****.

By encouraging greater participation of CIC*** events, the FEI hopes to raise the profile of the sport as well as the standard. The World Cup Series is run over CIC*** level tracks at 14 qualifiers across the world and increased entries are intended make the Malmo final a more exciting competition.

The FEI has also made other changes to qualification rules. Horses who have completed a four-star three-day event in the current or preceding year may not be entered for a one-star or a two-star event unless the rider has not completed a three- or four-star three-day event. “This is to discourage people on four-star horses doing two-star events as warm-ups in the spring, when they can easily do intermediate or advanced competitions instead,” Graham explains.

Permanent qualification is another new rule. Once a rider has achieved five qualifying results at a particular level he can compete at that level or lower for the rest of his life. For instance, Laura Collett, who at 16 years old has completed five one-star CCI competitions, will now be permanently qualified at that level.   

For information on further rule changes visit: www.britisheventing.com