Andrew Nicholson on why course-designers must stick to the required level
I’ve agreed to join a virtual discussion with the FEI on the subject, “When do you know you are ready to go up a level in eventing?” They are worried that too many uncategorised riders are moving up too quickly and before they are ready, but it’s not a black-and-white subject.
You can’t stamp on young riders for being hungry to get on; if I had an 18-year-old pupil with the correct qualifications who didn’t badger me to go up a level, I’d think they were never going to make it as a rider. If course-designers are making the cross-country tracks too soft, that isn’t the riders’ faults – and that’s why we do need parity in design and build. A course is either a four-star or it isn’t, and if half the field are going round clear inside the time, then that rather indicates that it isn’t.