So you're thinking of trying affiliated eventing?
The decision to 'go affiliated' can seem like a big one - but it needn't be.
If you are already competing unaffiliated, you will have a good idea what eventing is all about and may well be riding over courses of a similar height to those you would ride affiliated.
Going affiliated simply gives you access to almost 200 events that carry a guarantee of what you can expect from the organisers and venue. In addition, it opens up the door to a clear competition and training structure that is able to take you just as high as you want to go. From grass roots to the next Olympics, going affiliated gives you the chance to achieve your goals.
Read about what going affiliated is like in the REAL LIFE story of one rider at the bottom of this page...
NEWS UPDATE: Last chance to win training places
Applications are invited by keen 'grass roots' riders to win a place on Scotts of Thrapston's 2011 development programme.
The stable manufacturer has joined forces once again with Carlton Horse Trials in Bedfordshire to offer two lucky riders the chance to improve their riding and make their affiliated dreams come true.
The riders selected for the programme can look forward to half price clinics at Carlton run by British Eventing Coaching Develeopment Team members Nick Turner and Caroline Moore, a free course walk with Nick at Badminton Horse Trials and free entry to compete at Carlton Horse Trials in July. In addition they will also receive 'Scott's Squad' branded clothing and their progress will be tracked online with a weekly diary.
One of last year's winners Janet Hammond (43) said, "My horse and I progressed so much further than I could ever have hoped for... now I'm totally addicted to eventing!"
Applications must be in by 28th February 2011 - click here now to find out more and enter.
What’s the difference between unaffiliated and affiliated eventing?
Unaffiliated events can be run by anyone while affiliated events must be run following the guidelines set down by British Eventing, the governing body of the sport.
This means that affiliated competitions must be overseen by trained officials and be of a certain standard – that’s the cross country course, the arenas, parking, medical and safety provisions, and general timekeeping and running of the event, not the level of rider allowed to compete.
Riders of all levels are welcome at affiliated events and there is a range of classes to choose from, with a clear structure for progression if you are keen to rise up the ranks.
What are the benefits of competing in affiliated eventing?
Because the affiliated competitions are governed by British Eventing, you can be assured they will be of a consistent and guaranteed standard. There’s nothing worse than having paid your entry fee and spent all that time and effort preparing for a competition, only to be disappointed or frustrated because of the facilities or the way it is run.
British Eventing’s affiliated competitions take place only at approved venues – as well as ensuring the arenas are of the right size and quality, with room for warm-up, the cross country courses are built to the approved standard by a BE-qualified course designer and course builder, and the parking facilities are also checked to be sufficient and on suitable ground.
At affiliated events you can also rest assured that there is adequate medical and veterinary provision and measures are in place to deal with any emergency.
But should you have a bad experience, with an affiliated event you will have some comeback – there are people and procedures in place to deal with any problem.
In addition to your personal benefits, choosing to go affiliated also benefits the sport of eventing itself. British Eventing underpins the sport by providing the structure for competition and progression right from beginners to Olympic level. It also works to ensure the best possible safety measures and that quality training is available to all, throughout the year. Out of the eventing season you can also enjoy Jumping and Style competitions, and Jump Training classes. By choosing to go affiliated, you are supporting eventing as a whole.
Isn’t affiliated eventing harder than unaffiliated?
No. Affiliated events start from 80cm (just 2ft 6in) with dressage tests involving straightforward schooling movements in walk, trot and canter. The difference is the guarantee of consistency. No matter which affiliated event you go to, the build and technicality of the cross country and showjumping courses will be of a similar standard, while the dressage arenas will be of a set quality and judged consistently by trained judges. In short, it is a guarantee of the level of facilities you can expect at events and the support available to you.
BE80(T) classes – the T stands for training - are the ideal way to get started in affiliated eventing and aim to build you and your horse’s confidence. These offer fences up to 80cm (2ft 6in) on the cross country and eight to ten fences of up to 85cm for the showjumping. The dressage test is straightforward involving simple schooling movements at walk, trot and canter. You even get the benefit BE-accredited coaches who will walk you round both courses and offer help and advice as you warm up.
How do I ‘go affiliated’?
To ride in affiliated events you and your horse need to register with British Eventing (BE). First of all you need to complete the free Lifetime Registration online or by post. If you think you could offer your help at an event too, don’t forget to tick the box asking if you can be added to the Volunteer Database – volunteers are the lifeblood of eventing.
Then you can select the type of membership you want. Full Membership which entitles you to compete for 12 months costs £125. You can join online or fill out the Lifetime Registration/Membership form and pop it in the post. For help, contact membership services on Tel. 0845 262 3344.
Having become a member you will be entitled to ride at any of the 190 affiliated events organised by British Eventing each year, as well as Jumping and Style classes and Jump Training over the winter months. These are advertised on the British Eventing website and in British Eventing magazine which you will receive every two months. As a full member your entries will also take priority over Day Ticket holders (see below) for oversubscribed events. Among your personal benefits, you will also receive free personal accident and personal liability insurance and also be entitled to discounted membership with British Dressage.
Your horse will also need to be registered either with a Half Season Ticket, which costs from £64, or a Full Season Ticket, priced from £90. You can do this online or by completing the Horse Season ticket form. For help, contact membership services or Tel. 0845 262 3344.
Can I try affiliated eventing before deciding to ‘go affiliated’ properly?
Yes. You and your horse can compete using Day Tickets and find out if going affiliated is right for you. They allow you and you horse to compete at an affiliated event and also provide you with third party liability and accident insurance cover for the day.
After completing the free Lifetime Registration, you will need to buy a Horse Day Ticket and a Rider Day Ticket, either as part of your online entry for an event, by filling in the Day Ticket form and popping it in the post, or by contacting membership services on Tel. 0247 669 8856. Allow time for your horse’s passport and vaccination record to be checked.
You can buy up to four Rider Day Tickets per season and unlimited Horse Tickets. The first four Rider Day Tickets you buy will be at the introductory price of £11 and £16 thereafter. Horse Tickets cost £16.
Be aware though, that for events that are oversubscribed, Day Ticket entries will be balloted (turned away) before BE full members’ entries, although a full refund will be given.
I love eventing but don’t want to compete – what can ‘going affiliated’ offer me?
There are two options for you – you can become an Associate Member which costs £40 for 12 months. This offers many of the benefits as Full Membership except that you will not be able to compete at affiliated events. However, you will still have access to BE-accredited coaches, be able to take part in training clinics, talks and demonstrations, have free entry to events (excluding 2* or above) and enjoy a variety of members' discount deals.
Alternatively, you can join the British Eventing Gold Medal Club and help support the British Eventing Team in their medal quest. This costs £25 for 12 months and gives you access to exclusive opportunities such as visiting top eventing yards and enjoying course walks with international riders. In addition you will receive a goody pack and be able to keep in touch with all the latest team news via the Gold Medal Club website.
Before you can take up either option, you will need to complete Free Lifetime registration online or by post. This will also give you another opportunity to get involved in eventing – by volunteering at an event. Simply tick the box to confirm you are happy to be added to the Volunteer Database.
REAL LIFE: Warm welcome to affiliated for Joanna
Ten years after her one and only taste of affiliated competition, Joanna Butterell (41) from North Yorkshire, became a member of British Eventing and rode ‘under rules’ again. “I really enjoyed my first taste of affiliated eventing,” she says, “although I had managed to blank out the 12 showjumping penalties until I rejoined!
“I was scared stiff going out to my first event this year and really wondered what I’d done, but once I was there I just loved it.”
Joanna was first persuaded to give affiliated a go when she stabled her horse on an event yard. She bought two day tickets but only ever used one and since then life and family commitments meant competing took a back seat. However, when last year she was bought a young event horse as a 40th birthday present, it seemed the time had come to return to the sport she loves. With lots of training and a few placings at unaffiliated events under her belt, she felt sufficiently encouraged to go for it.
“I have generally found the affiliated events are easier if anything – you know what fence sizes and level of difficulty you will get, where unaffiliated classes can vary,” she explains. “Also the class sizes seem to be smaller and everything is very well-organized with jump judges and officials who really know what they are doing.
“Everyone has been helpful and friendly – in fact, I went on my own to one event. I ended up parked next to a chap who was also by himself so we helped each other. It’s really nice and I’m looking forward to my next outing.”