Riders are welcoming a new, cheaper British Showjumping (BS) membership scheme for those competing at 1m and under.

Under the “club membership scheme” starting this month, riders pay £30 to register themselves and one horse or pony for the series and can then enter new club classes to be introduced across the country.

But instead of winning prize-money, they win points.

BS wants to create a “friendly and welcoming atmosphere” and will keep a performance record for each combination.

Director of sport Justine Naylor said: “We want to encourage people to make the step into BS.

“The perception is that BS is elitist and you must be jumping at 1.20m to take part, but that’s not the case.”

Entrance is restricted to riders aged over 12 years who have not been placed at national amateur 90cm, British novice, Stepping Stones, pony British novice or above in the past three years.

They do not have to compete in their own region to accumulate points and there is no age restriction on riders competing on ponies.

Club membership classes will run over 70cm, 80cm, 90cm and 1m courses.

Points will be allocated to riders who are placed and the top 40 horses and riders from each category may compete at a regional championship.

H&H reader panel members Professor Elizabeth Gammie and Annette Hughes both welcomed the initiative.

“This would have been very attractive to me as a full-time working mum who no longer wanted the stress of jumping bigger courses, but would have liked some fun over well-built, regulated courses,” said Prof Gammie.

And Mrs Hughes said: “I would definitely pay £30 to be able to ride at affiliated level.”

The first competition takes place at Whitehouse Farm EC, Lincs, on 12 June.

Membership also entitles a rider and their horse or pony to compete in two regular BS competitions per year, but no prize-money or qualifications can be won.

For further information, visit www.britishshowjumping.co.uk

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (2 June, 2011)