Have you ever wondered what the British Dressage Petplan Equine Area Festivals competitions are all about? Here’s everything you need to know...

What are the Petplan Equine Area Festivals?

Petplan Equine Area Festivals are the perfect goal for many British Dressage (BD) riders looking to gain their first experience at a championship event.

Who is eligible?

Riders can compete in prelim bronze sections to get their scores for an Area Festival as a British Dressage Club member on an associate horse. If you do qualify for a Petplan Equine Area Festival, you and your horse will need to become fully registered with BD.

Combinations competing at winter/summer regional championships will not be eligible for any Area Festivals at that level or below in the same calendar year. The exception is in freestyle to music classes when they will only lose their eligibility to compete in Area Festivals if they compete at the Winter Championships or Wellington Championships.

British Dressage group 4-8 riders may compete in Area Festivals up to and including advanced medium, depending on their eligibility. Only Group 7 and 8 riders may compete at prelim level. Group 3 riders may only compete at novice and above. Group 2 riders may only compete at advanced medium level and above. Group 1 and 2A riders may not enter Area Festivals at any level.

Once a rider has ridden at the national or winter championships, they cannot compete at that level or below on another horse in Area Festivals in that year or the following year.

What levels are they at?

Petplan Area Festival classes run from prelim to inter II level.

Prelim to medium levels feature a section for under 18 riders (up until the end of the year of their 18th birthday). To qualify for an under 18 section scores may be gained in the bronze or silver section or a combination of both.

What is the qualifying process?

Riders could have qualified from 1 October 2016 up until the closing date of the first round Petplan Equine Area Festival that they want to enter.

If you finish in the top 10 of your Area Festival first round at prelim to advanced medium, or the top five at PSG to inter II, you will qualify for an Area Festival semi-final provided that you achieved the qualifying percentage of 62% for prelim to elementary or 60% for medium to inter II.

When do the competitions take place?

There are 27 first round Area Festivals held across the UK from May until September 2017, with the top 10 combinations from each section going on to one of the eight Area Festival semi-finals, taking place in September and October 2017, from prelim to inter II level.

Combinations will qualify from the Area Festival semi-finals on a proportional basis and will be invited to compete at the Area Festival Championships at Hartpury College in April 2018.

Keep up to date with all the latest equestrian news and reports in Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday