British Eventing (BE) grassroots riders will have to qualify before being allowed to compete at BE100 level during the 2017 season.

There were previously no minimum eligibility requirements (MERs) for competitors at BE100 level, unless riders were in their 12th or 13th birthday year.

To ride at BE100 level now requires all riders to have completed two BE90 classes with qualifying results. This does not have to be completed as a horse/rider combination. That means a rider who is new to the sport or has yet to gain the appropriate qualification at BE90 must do so prior to competing at BE100 level.

In order to be eligible riders must achieve a score of no more than 50 in the dressage phase, with 16 showjumping penalties or less (12 penalties or less if you are in the year of your 12th or 13th birthday), and complete a clear cross-country round (zero jumping faults) with no more than 30 cross-country time-penalties at BE90.

New MERs have also been introduced at BE105 level, which require two BE100 completions with the same qualifying result as outlined above. To compete at novice level, riders must have completed three classes at BE100, BE100Plus or BE105 with a qualifying result (as above).

Riders who have already competed at BE100 but haven’t recorded the new MERs may continue to compete at the level if they have successfully completed a BE100. If the rider has gone straight into competition at BE100 level but is yet to complete a BE100, they must abide by the new rules and gain the MERs stated at BE90 before attempting a BE100 again.

BE’s sport operations manager Chris Farr said: “After extensive work earlier this year, BE made the decision to incorporate MERs for those transitioning from BE90 to BE100, and include the new BE105 class in this progression. By providing a minimum requirement, which have been in place at all other levels, it ensures a minimum level of competition result before a rider moves up a level.”

Stopwatches permitted at all levels

Also announced by BE today (9 December) as part of the most notable new rules for the 2017 season was that stopwatches can now be used at all levels in the cross-country phase.

Before the 2016 season, stopwatches were not permitted at any level below novice. This change now means that BE80(T), BE90, BE100, BE105 and BE100Plus competitors may all wear stopwatches.

This rule change comes off the back of the stopwatch trial BE ran this year where it allowed all competitors to wear one across country.

BE said in June that the reason the trial was implemented was because they had found “riders of all ages at lower levels were struggling to find the correct pace and to adapt their rhythm and speed for different levels of tracks”.

BE’s sport manager (events) Debbie Marfell said: “Following the results of event-based research and the analysis of data relating to the use of stopwatches this year, the decision was made to permanently implement the rule to allow stopwatches at all levels from 1 January 2017.”

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BE also announced today that from 1 January 2017 there would be a blanket ban on the use of top hats and hunting caps at all of its national events.

A complete list of rule changes will be published on the BE website in due course, with the full 2017 members’ handbook available in the New Year.