Cross-country stopwatches are to be allowed by British Eventing (BE) at grassroots level for a trial period in 2016.

For the first four months of next season, which kicks off on 5 March, competitors at all levels will now be allowed to wear stopwatches.

Previously, they were only permitted at BE novice level and above.

“From the first event of 2016 until the end of June 2016 competitors will now be allowed to wear stopwatches during the cross-country phase at BE80, BE90 and BE100 – including the Mitsubishi Motors Cup,” said a statement from BE.

Related articles

The organisation made the decision following feedback from stewards and officials that showed riders of all ages, at lower levels, were struggling to find the correct pace and to adapt their rhythm and speed for different heights of courses.

“BE coaches are now increasingly getting the under-18 programme riders to use the gallops in training to learn how to set their pace, so it is hoped that the trial will enable competitors to put into practice what they train to do at home,” the statement added.

Under-18 regional coach Mark Corbett said that the decision is about riders learning to use the stopwatches as part of their cross-country equipment.

“Speed training courses from BE will be coming out around the country at all ages and levels to understand how to use their watches effectively and put it in to practice using marked distances,” he added.

Full details will be published in the 2016 BE rule book.