BE’s Paul Graham said: “Safety and rider ability is a hot topic. We wanted to strike a medium between allowing riders to progress up the levels and ensuring they have the proper levels of competence.”
He said lower level classes like BE90 (intro) and BE80(T) had led to a wider range of people riding cross-country courses.
“People regarded the minimum requirements as an indicator they should move up rather than considering if they and their horse were ready. So we have tightened things up,” said Mr Graham.
Minimum requirements for intermediate and advanced levels have also been tweaked, with both horse and rider having to complete five clear cross-country runs at the lower level.
BE has also created a scheme to allow combinations at the lower levels to gather points.
BE sport manager (events) Debbie Marfell explained: “Riders said they got nothing for a win at BE90 or BE100, so we have created foundation points which people can use to differentiate their horse when they sell them.”
Foundation points do not count towards upgrading.
Kathryn White, of Tring, Herts, who competes at BE90 level, but hopes to move to BE100 this season, told H&H she welcomes the changes to the qualification system, but feels BE cannot take all the responsibility for safety.
“My first BE course felt a big jump from my local hunter trials. It’s up to you to decide if you feel ready or not,” she said.
This article was first published in Horse & Hound (14 January, 10)