How to get started in Trailblazers

  • The new show jumping and dressage series, Trailblazers, appears to be off to a good start.

    So for anyone who wants to take part, here’s what it involves.

    The series is organised by the Professional Show Organisers Association (PSOA) with the aim of giving an estimated 200,000 unaffiliated competitors the chance to compete in a national championship.

    Qualifiers are being run at 30 member centres around the country.

    The series, which began last autumn, aims to provide shows that could prove a stepping stone for unaffiliated competitors to take part in BSJA or British Dressage activities.

    They also provide extra income for PSOA members, many of whom have been hit by the foot-and-mouth crisis.

    Competitors can take part in show jumping and dressage.

    show jumping series:

  • there is a choice of four heights – 75cm, 85cm, 95cm and 1.05cm – in both junior (16 and under, on ponies) and senior sections

  • those jumping one double clear round in preliminary competitions qualify for the regional finals

  • the two top riders in each section of the regional finals will qualify for the finals at Stoneleigh on 14-16 September

    How to qualify for the regional in dressage:

  • a mark of 58% needs to be reached at either preliminary, novice or elementary level

  • classes are split into junior and senior sections

  • the highest-placed senior and junior competitors in the regional finals go through to the final

    Norman Bargh, chairman of the PSOA who also runs Osbaldeston Centre in Lancashire, says: “One of the attractions of this competition is that the show jumping courses will be properly built to the same standardsand dimensions at each centre.

    In most first rounds and all regional finals, judges are also from recognised lists.”

    Potential competitors are given a form to complete and, in return, receive proof of registration, enabling them to enter as many competitions as they like at any venue.

    After qualifying, if they wish to take part in their regional final they must pay a fee of £10.

    Trailblazers has attracted support and sponsorship from South Essex Insurance Brokers, whose marketing manager Nicolina MacKenzie says: “So much is done to encourage affiliated riders, but it seemed to us that unaffiliated competitors were all but ignored.

    Trailblazers fills a huge gap in the equestrian calendar.”

    The British Horse Society and Horse &Hound magazine have also pledged support, with the BHS offering a special prize to its highest-placed member in the regional qualifiers and final.

    To find out where your nearest PSOA centre is, contact Norman Bargh (tel: 01254 813159).

    See Horse and Hound magazine (17 May) for more information.

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