One of the hot topics is the rise in membership fees — new full memberships and full membership renewals are up £10, although members can still pay the 2010 price by paying by direct debit.
Full year horse registrations are also up £5 at every level for 2011.
Forum users are also discussing the re-wording of the withdrawal and refund rule, in particular the fact that a competitor who has to withdraw after the ballot date but is replaced should receive a refund on their entry fee (less £10 in 2012 or £12 in 2011).
In fact, this principle was in the rulebook in 2010, but BE’s Debbie Marfell explained that the removal of the words “from the waiting list” — from the sentence “Withdrawals by competitors who have been replaced from the waiting list will receive a full refund of the entry fee [less the admin fee]” — will close a loophole which meant organisers could refuse refunds by saying they didn’t keep a waiting list, although they were actually still replacing withdrawn horses.
However, Debbie acknowledged that the rule still relies on organisers’ integrity as they are often the only people who know who has truly been replaced.
In a change designed to encourage early entries and help organisers, who this year suffered from riders entering late, competitors who enter after the ballot date will now not be eligible for a refund.
Meanwhile, ballot dates have been moved closer to the event — 18-21 days before the event (down from 21-24) unless the event balloted the previous season, in which case it is 25-28 days (down from 28-31) — which should meet with approval from riders.
Debbie Marfell added that BE is aware that these changes are a temporary solution to ongoing discussion about entries, withdrawals and refunds. Chris Hunnable’s steering group will continue to look into a solution which is more satisfactory for both organisers and riders.
Among the other rule changes, riders will be able to compete on day tickets at novice level for the first time and there are some alterations to the way both foundation and regular points are awarded.