Why not try affiliated dressage? Here’s everything you need to know…

  • Are you considering having a go at affiliated dressage? If so, don’t miss this useful guide on how to get started and what you can expect…

    Which organisation: British Dressage (BD) governs affiliated dressage competition.

    How much it costs: £90 for full membership, £80 for full horse registration, with a range of other membership options available including £35 Club rider and £10 Club horse memberships.

    Membership package: Third party liability insurance and personal accident insurance, British Dressage magazine every six weeks, rule book, free online access to all competition records and special discounts on tickets for BD events, plus so much more.

    Why affiliate?: “Our judges have gone through an accredited training system so you can be sure of a consistent level of judging,” says a British Dressage spokesperson. “Anyone can compete in affiliated dressage and in recent years we have provided more opportunities for grassroots riders to compete and go to championships.”

    What to expect: Unaffiliated classes are generally run under BD rules but you often won’t get a BD accredited judge, so the marking might not be as consistent. As a BD member, you’ll still be able to compete in unaffiliated competition, although you won’t be able to win points in these classes.

    Setting your sights:Both winter and summer seasons end in championships, with opportunities to qualify at all levels. Most classes are geared towards championships.

    To encourage less experienced riders, there are championship-style shows known as Area Festivals, which are open to anyone with a score of 62% or above in three prelim to elementary tests. If you come in the first 10 at an Area Festival with the sufficient score you go forward to the Area Festival Finals, from which you can then have the chance to qualify for the championships.

    There are a number of other championships riders can aim for too, including My Quest and Team Quest finals, plus Arab Horse, British Native Pony, Draught Horse, GB PRE, Lusitano, TGCA, CHAPS, Retraining of Racehorses, Thoroughbred, Veteran Horse and Rider, combined training, young horses, Forces Equine, to name just a few.

    Class tickets: Class tickets cost £10 each and each ticket allows you to enter one affiliated dressage class — both you and your horse will need to be Associate registered, which is free, to use your ticket. You can win rosettes, prize money and earn BD points but all scores/points earned on class tickets will not count towards anything other than the Associated Championships.

    Guide to classes

    Introductory: Simple tests including basic shapes in walk and trot

    Preliminary: Simple tests including basic shapes in walk, trot and canter

    Novice: Lengthened strides in trot and canter and more demanding shapes such as half 10m circles (trot) and half 15m circles (canter)

    Elementary: Lateral work, medium trot, counter canter and rein back

    Medium: Counter, collected and extended canter plus simple change, half pass, rein back and walk pirouettes

    Advanced medium: All the above plus flying change in canter

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    No points are awarded in intro classes so you can compete at this level for as long as you want without having to move up.

    You win points when you compete in an affiliated class at prelim level and above and score a minimum of 60%. Points are awarded to the horse/rider according to the percentage they score, 60% and above. For example, if you score 65% in an elementary class, the horse/rider wins three points. To create a more level playing field, classes are split into gold, silver and bronze sections, which depend on the number of points a rider has won in the past.

    Find out more: Contact British Dressage (tel: 02476 698830) or visit: www.britishdressage.co.uk

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