Which organisation: British Eventing (BE) is the governing body of horse trials.

How much it costs: £85 for individual membership plus a one-off joining fee of £12. Horse registration starts at £57, plus a £10 joining fee.

Membership package: Tri-annual Bulletin & Omnibus schedule listing news and dates, public liability and personal accident insurance, free legal helpline, rule book.

Why affiliate?: “Our members know they’re getting a certain standard of competition and high-quality technical back-up,” says BE Press Officer Winnie Murphy. “Competitors can be sure the event will run smoothly and all phases should start on time. Our competition structure is aimed at encouraging people to take up the sport and not overface themselves.”

What to expect: Some of the differences to unaffiliated competition are:

  • Medical cards: worn on the arm during the cross-country phase, these record your medical details in case of a fall.
  • Starting fees: on top ofyour entry, you will have to pay a start fee on the day. The cost depends on the level you’re riding at and the money goes back into the event, paying for medical cover and course improvements.
  • Optimum time: penalties are awarded if you exceed the time limit across country. Watches aren’t permitted in Intro, Pre-novice and Novice classes, so you must learn to judge pace.
  • Balloting: if the class is over-subscribed, you may be balloted out. Riders are sent ‘priority stickers’ to attach to the entry forms of events they really want to compete at.

Training: Two new types of competition offer riders the chance to compete in winter and act as training for the traditional season.

  • Jumping and Style (JAS) is indoor eventing. Riders tackle a round of show jumps, then a timed section of knock-down rustic fences. As well as picking up penalties for any errors, a judge gives style marks for horse and rider.
  • Grasshoppers Show Jumping. In this competition, riders jump a first round, then go through their performance with a BE accredited trainer. They then jump again. Each rider takes away a score sheet, similar to a dressage test sheet.

Day tickets: Non-members can buy four day tickets per season at £15 each up to novice level. As well as class entry and start fees, you will also be required to purchase an Omnibus Schedule and rule book. You must have your own medical card and holder and need to buy or borrow a number bib.

Guide to classes
  • Intro: For horses with no points. Show jumps are no higher than 0.95m (3ft 1in) and cross-country fences 0.90m (2ft 11in).

  • Pre-novice: No points. Show jumps are a maximum height of 1.05m (3ft 5in) with cross-country jumps 1m (3ft 3in).
  • Novice: For horses with less than 20 points. Show jumps are a maximum of 1.15m (3ft 9in), cross-country 1.10m (3ft 7in).
  • Intermediate: For horses with 21-60 points. Show jumps and cross-country are a maximum height of 1.15m (3ft 9in).
  • Advanced: 61 points and above. Show jumps will not exceed 1.25m (4ft 1in) and cross-country 1.20m (3ft 11in).

British Eventing points are not allocated for wins or placings in Intro or Pre-novice classes. They are introduced at Novice level. Open Pre-novice and Open Novice classes have been introduced to allow riders to compete on schoolmasters, sothat less experienced riders don’t have to take on courses they are not ready for. Horses are graded according to the number of points they have won.

Find out more: Contact British Eventing (tel: 02476 698856) or visit: www.britisheventing.co.uk