British Dressage (BD) has today (Tuesday 1 December) launched a new competition structure.
The old system of open and restricted sections has been replaced with bronze, silver and gold streams.
The aim of the new system is to be more inclusive and offer more combinations more competitive options.
It allows more fluid movement up and down the levels, aimed at allowing — for example — a horse who has not competed for some time through injury to drop down to a lower level when returning to competition.
The training section — often used by combinations aiming for Area Festivals to qualify without racking up points — has been abolished.
In the new structure, Area Festivals will consist of bronze and silver sections, with regionals and nationals running silver and gold sections.
Although silver is predicted to be the largest section, riders in that stream will have two outlets as they can elect to compete in Area Festivals or regionals (or both, in some cases).
Bronze is aimed at combinations new to a level, with BD describing this stream as a “protected introduction”.
Silver is “for those establishing themselves at a level with a view to progressing up the ladder”.
The gold section is open and will include both very experienced riders on less experienced horses, as well as combinations who have exceeded their silver points but are not ready or willing to move up to the next level.
Some rider groupings have also been altered, and groupings will play a part in determining which sections riders are eligible for.
Horses’ eligibility for particular sections is now calculated by the points they have earned at each section/level.
However, some riders of previously downgraded horses are angry that their horses’ historic points have been re-awarded, making them ineligible for the sections in which their current/new riders wish to compete.
BD is still accepting feedback and assessing this situation.
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