With the eventing season fast approaching, find out all you need to know about taking the plunge and going affiliated...

If you and your horse have been enjoying the unaffiliated eventing circuit previously you might be keen to try affiliated competition.

Competing in BE80(T)/90 classes

BE80(T)/90 classes are a good place to begin if you have been competing at unaffiliated level previously. It is important that you and your horse are turned out correctly for each phase.

You will ride a short dressage test including simple walk, trot and canter movements and transitions. This will be followed by a showjumping round of seven to 12 fences. The height of the jumps will not exceed 85cm for BE80(T) classes and 95cm for BE90 classes. Cross-country is the final test, with 18 to 22 fences up to 80cm in height for BE80 and 90cm for BE90.

For BE80(T) classes there will be BE accredited coaches available to help competitors warm up for the three phases, as well as walk the showjumping and cross-country courses.

There are eight national levels of the sport for riders to progress through: BE80, BE90, BE100, BE100Plus, BE105, novice, intermediate and advanced. The classes that a horse is eligible for depends on its previous eventing record — good performances at the lower levels qualify a horse for higher levels, while horses with a certain number of points from previous placings and wins cannot compete in lower level classes.

As a general rule, if your horse has no points, you can enter BE80(T) and BE90 classes. Classes above this level have minimum eligibility requirements (MERs) that riders have to fulfil. If you have an experienced horse with points, you can compete at the lower levels by entering your horse in “open” sections e.g. BE90Open. Alternatively you could run non-competitively (HC), but you will not win any rosettes or prizes. Riders can also apply to BE to “downgrade” horses with points.

Do you need to be a BE member to compete at an affiliated event?

No, not necessarily. Day tickets are an option for riders who want to try eventing for the first time or who can only compete a few times a season. They can be used to compete in BE90, BE100, BE100 Plus, BE105, novice and intermediate novice classes as long as the rider has the appropriate MERs or a training ticket can be bought for BE80(T) classes.

A rider can buy up to four day tickets per season and there is no limit for horses. If the rider is a full BE member they can just buy a ticket to compete an unregistered horse, or if the horse is registered but the rider is not a member, the rider can buy a ticket for themselves. Tickets cost £16 each for one horse or one rider (£25 for both), while training tickets cost £15 for horse and rider combined plus a day pass membership of £10.

Actual tickets are no longer issued. Instead your number will be emailed to you or you can see it on your “My Details” page of the membership area on the BE website.

You should be aware that day ticket holders will be the first to be balloted out of a popular event if a class is oversubscribed, which can be a frustration.

Becoming a member

If you decide to become a BE member, there are several types of memberships available.

“Full BE membership” is what you need if you want to compete on a regular basis. Your horse will also need to be registered, or if you ride a horse for someone else, they will also need to be a member as the horse’s owner.

There are also membership options for non-riders who just enjoy the sport.

For a list of membership prices see here.

Some tips for the day of the event

Don’t forget…

  • Your horse’s vaccination card/passport
  • Your hat – this must be inspected and tagged at your first event
  • Your number bib

Report to the secretary’s tent with your vaccination card/passport and hat as soon as you arrive. Here you can collect your number and programme, pay your start fee and check your start times.

It is a good idea to work out where the dressage, showjumping and cross-country are located so that you can find your bearings and know how long it will take to get between them.

If possible walk the cross-country the day before to free up more time on the day of the event. You can usually walk the course from 2pm the afternoon prior to competing.