Low BE entries - what’s up with that?

Ambers Echo

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I have lots of conflicted thoughts. Someone posted the ‘types’ of competitors with fun amateurs first in the last. But there is another rung - have a go competitors. Eland have always run unaff comps and some of these are great - 50-80 HTs or ODEs. You can carry on after elimination. You can skip a fence. You can qualify for finals. Good rosettes and prizes and an ‘event’ feel. Lots of people enjoy a competition even at lower levels. These attract ‘have a go’ people whose horses are not in a structured training/strengthening programme to make sure they are fit and robust enough to cope. Which is fine up to 80ish but they run up to 100 with the broken bridge which is a huge drop onto fairly hard ground. They also had a big box fence uphill towards the end of the course. I saw far too many unfit horses there.

I don’t know what the answer is. I’m glad it’s not up to me to sort out!
 

DabDab

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The thing is that BE wouldn't be competing with UA events if they had stuck at Novice (or even pre-novice) lowest heights. UA events run over the same tracks as affiliated in large part because BE moved into the unaffiliated 'space' to try to get a bit of the money being spent on them. Short term it worked for them, longer term not so much.

Once you are in the market that caters for the low to middling aspiration amateur then you have to try and cater for them. BE isn't terribly good at this and arguably don't really want to be (except for financial reasons). So maybe they should back out and stick the starting height for BE back up and make it a bit more aspirational again. As mentioned up thread, they would probably be better trying to make up the grassroots money by providing much improved training opportunities
 

Ambers Echo

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They could stop U/A events at 80. If they had an 80 limit on all UA events run over BE tracks they could still keep the 80T sections for those planning to step up with the coaches helping with advice on the day and training events. While those happy to stop at 80 stay unaff
 

ester

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In my head they used to have similar (like BSJA not allowing judges to also judge unaff) but the competition commission ruled against it?
 

spacefaer

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When I started eventing, there was nothing below Novice.
You belonged to the Pony Club and then a Riding Club for both training and experience.
XC courses were mainly 2'6-2'9 (novice) or 3'-3'3 (open)
Anyone who wanted to jump lower xc courses didn't compete, or would do the clear round or minimus course.
Those who competed BE weren't particularly welcomed back at Riding club - I offered to be available for RC teams and it was made perfectly clear that they'd rather not send a team than take up my offer.
I think BE prostituted itself at the lower levels to get the money but has no real interest in the smaller tracks. There is no interest in the "happy amateur" other than as a source of funds.
In an ideal world, as said above, they should redefine themselves as an aspirational sport and people should have to work their way up to be competent enough to compete. However, that's not going to happen as costs of running events seem to be stuck in an upwards spiral and the lower levels of membership are used to fund the higher.

If I was still competing, I wouldn't be entering anything just at the moment with the state of the ground. It's hard enough to train on, let alone run xc on.

I competed with an aim - all my horses had a career path. I never took a horse out that I didn't feel could be competitive on the day, and I genuinely don't understand why anyone would want to spend 100s of pounds with the vague hope of completing. Go home, spend the money on training and come back when you stand a chance of a decent dressage and a double clear ,😄
 

spacefaer

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So in answer to the original question - I'd put it down to three current factors
1. lack of time - people have gone back to work
2. money - no furlough, back at work, able to take holidays again
3. The ground - it's currently like concrete with no sign of any significant change

I've also seen a lower take up of training places in my local riding clubs so I guess it's an issue across the board.
 

RachelFerd

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The thing is that BE wouldn't be competing with UA events if they had stuck at Novice (or even pre-novice) lowest heights. UA events run over the same tracks as affiliated in large part because BE moved into the unaffiliated 'space' to try to get a bit of the money being spent on them. Short term it worked for them, longer term not so much.

Once you are in the market that caters for the low to middling aspiration amateur then you have to try and cater for them. BE isn't terribly good at this and arguably don't really want to be (except for financial reasons). So maybe they should back out and stick the starting height for BE back up and make it a bit more aspirational again. As mentioned up thread, they would probably be better trying to make up the grassroots money by providing much improved training opportunities
The problem, for me, with just catering for the novice+ audience, is that you have then potentially removed the stepping stones required for people to progress from the lower levels into the upper levels. If the unregulated (term i prefer to unaffiliated, because it is a bit more descriptive!) sport doesn't adapt to the same rule changes and overarching developments that the upper level sport does, it gets harder and harder for people to move across. That is not a good thing for the longevity of the sport. You only fix this by ensuring that PC and RC step into that space more effectively - but it seems like they've already been eroded from where they were, and don't have the infrastructure to be able to do it in the short term.

@Ambers Echo I am also conflicted, as i love to see people having fun with their horses and enjoying them at whatever level. But then, I go to those types of events and can feel pretty demoralised by what i see. I noted that Kelsall have put a 'competency evidence' request on entries for under 11s for their winter arena eventing this year - I guess they've had some bad experiences with people having a go (Which was always the danger when they dropped their lowest height down to 70cm rather than 80cm).
 

teapot

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Helen West was on the Cornbury commentary and talked about voice of the membership, wants to listen but as long as it's constructive.

Did anyone watch the Lucinda Green, Eric Winter, Helen West zoom chat? That was great as it covered the whole who do you cater for the pros and those who want to go for a xc pottle, never rising up the levels.
 

milliepops

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I think perhaps all affiliated organisations in the UK at least could potentially offer better and more accredited training. I'm incredibly lucky to have access to some awesome facilities within a couple of hours drive and follow at least a couple of trainers who offer clinics at those facilities. But approaching them for the first time is hard. If I could have subscribed to BE and got access to clinics and coaches who are give training dates and info I'd 100% have been happy to pay a full membership rate for that alone. Especially if you can then book with that person regularly (as far as time money etc allows). I have one coach I see maybe 6 times a year, but its enough that I can ask for and trust her opinion about competing.
this is something I do think BD has got broadly right, the regions offer lots of varied training (I feel quite fortunate as I straddle 3 of them so have loads of choice if I want it). much is subsidised.
The only thing I find irksome is their insistence on UKCC which rules out loads of extremely qualified people.

I have lots of conflicted thoughts. Someone posted the ‘types’ of competitors with fun amateurs first in the last. But there is another rung - have a go competitors. Eland have always run unaff comps and some of these are great - 50-80 HTs or ODEs. You can carry on after elimination. You can skip a fence. You can qualify for finals. Good rosettes and prizes and an ‘event’ feel. Lots of people enjoy a competition even at lower levels. These attract ‘have a go’ people whose horses are not in a structured training/strengthening programme to make sure they are fit and robust enough to cope. Which is fine up to 80ish but they run up to 100 with the broken bridge which is a huge drop onto fairly hard ground. They also had a big box fence uphill towards the end of the course. I saw far too many unfit horses there.
i think the "problem" with this, for me anyway, is that *this* is not a competition.
Being able to skip a fence makes it training. IMO. This is possibly part of the reason why there ends up being a disconnect between bumbling along at the lowest level and then having a huge gulf to cross where you learn how to prepare and train properly because even a BE80 or 90 requires a bit more in the way of focus and competence to avoid running into problems. Why aren't those folk getting that experience in a clinic environment and then competing when they can get round reliably?
 

ester

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Swalcliffe just put up their total entries the day before ballot, it's interesting to see the current breakdown as haven't seen that with the others. There's only 5 in the 80.

Sat
100-29
100U18-3
80-5
90U18-1
Nov -17
ON-19

Sun
100-28
100op-11
Nov-39
90-28
 

Ambers Echo

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i think the "problem" with this, for me anyway, is that *this* is not a competition.
Being able to skip a fence makes it training. IMO. This is possibly part of the reason why there ends up being a disconnect between bumbling along at the lowest level and then having a huge gulf to cross where you learn how to prepare and train properly because even a BE80 or 90 requires a bit more in the way of focus and competence to avoid running into problems. Why aren't those folk getting that experience in a clinic environment and then competing when they can get round reliably?
When the kids were starting out, they did the Eland Hunter Trials at 70cm. No clinic sends you round 20 fences nonstop. You need a fence judge at every fence for that. In clinics you can never be out of sight of the instructor. So although they had been to clinics at Eland and elsewhere and were capable of getting round in theory, the experience of warming up then going to the start box by yourself and setting off round the whole track nonstop was totally different to anything you can do in training. Some flew round and were placed. Great. But others (like Katie on her little Section C) had a nightmare at fence 3 and she was eliminated there. But rather than just go home she was allowed to carry on and jumped the rest fine which was very educational for both her and the pony. I can't see a problem with allowing that.
 

milliepops

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I can understand why it's useful and why people like it, don't get me wrong.
I just think it's like entering a prelim dressage test and then not cantering. you haven't met the requirements of *competition*.

obviously your children were competent enough to get round with one problem, but what happens if the rider has problems everywhere and is allowed to continue and then there's an accident? there are reasons why you get eliminated in most competition if you have too many mistakes, and one is to save your neck!

I think dropping any sort of rules like that and still calling it competition just sets expectations incorrectly. the point of training is not to jump every fence anyway, you will always take the chance of coming across a fence you don't like in competition. so clinics don't have to string dozens of fences together to get the right feel for XC riding - and then wouldn't you go and hire the course to check you could ride a string of fences? I dunno, that's what I did but I accept it was in the dark ages compared to what is available now.
 

ester

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^^ That was my issue on XC, clinics were always 100% fine, bold as you like happy to leave everyone, would go round whole course on his own. Judge's cars rocking up to fences not so much and that was incredibly hard to practice for without just going out at lower heights and hunter trials/ODE were few and far between at that point.
Put my instructor on him once as she only saw the good training stuff, that was amusing too.
 

Roxylola

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this is something I do think BD has got broadly right, the regions offer lots of varied training (I feel quite fortunate as I straddle 3 of them so have loads of choice if I want it). much is subsidised.
The only thing I find irksome is their insistence on UKCC which rules out loads of extremely qualified people.



i think the "problem" with this, for me anyway, is that *this* is not a competition.
Being able to skip a fence makes it training. IMO. This is possibly part of the reason why there ends up being a disconnect between bumbling along at the lowest level and then having a huge gulf to cross where you learn how to prepare and train properly because even a BE80 or 90 requires a bit more in the way of focus and competence to avoid running into problems. Why aren't those folk getting that experience in a clinic environment and then competing when they can get round reliably?
I wanted to say like BD, but we don't seem to get a huge amount up here and I'm only a winter member so I thought I might be misremembering.
I'd argue the other side of that from an 80 pov is that it is 80T - it is a training level. Again, I'd pay more and/or enter more if I got some feedback beyond a dressage sheet. Send me fitness programs, at the point of entry have some tick boxes that you complete - my horse and I can canter for 8 minutes without stopping, my horse and I can canter up and down hills, my horse and I can jump a course of showjumps up to 85cm including a double 🤷‍♀️ prompts that might help people consider if they're ready. And if at any point my horse and I are deemed to be unfit or unable to continue for safety reasons I understand I will be stopped, in this instance I will be offered feedback by a BE approved trainer so that I can enter my next event better prepared. Those who get sniffy or don't go for their feedback don't get to enter again without booking a lesson with an approved coach.
There's so much they could do to make 80 an actual training level.
Swalcliffe just put up their total entries the day before ballot, it's interesting to see the current breakdown as haven't seen that with the others. There's only 5 in the 80.

Sat
100-29
100U18-3
80-5
90U18-1
Nov -17
ON-19

Sun
100-28
100op-11
Nov-39
90-28
When is it? I'm presuming mid Oct if they're about to ballot. As an 80 competitor I'd be concerned about how good the ground would be - as an inexperienced combination I want to maximise our chances of having at least a clear round so I'd avoid anything very early or late in the season unless I was really sure of the ground there.
I'd also be concerned that as I'm competing on a ticket there's a likelihood it might abandon if the weather is bad and I won't get my full entry back. I know the ticket is just sort of held but I don't know if I don't use it this year would it be there next year?
I know that sounds penny pinching but it would be enough to put me off
 

milliepops

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I wanted to say like BD, but we don't seem to get a huge amount up here and I'm only a winter member so I thought I might be misremembering.
I'd argue the other side of that from an 80 pov is that it is 80T - it is a training level. Again, I'd pay more and/or enter more if I got some feedback beyond a dressage sheet. Send me fitness programs, at the point of entry have some tick boxes that you complete - my horse and I can canter for 8 minutes without stopping, my horse and I can canter up and down hills, my horse and I can jump a course of showjumps up to 85cm including a double 🤷‍♀️ prompts that might help people consider if they're ready. And if at any point my horse and I are deemed to be unfit or unable to continue for safety reasons I understand I will be stopped, in this instance I will be offered feedback by a BE approved trainer so that I can enter my next event better prepared. Those who get sniffy or don't go for their feedback don't get to enter again without booking a lesson with an approved coach.
There's so much they could do to make 80 an actual training level.
I think you'd have to spend a bit more to get that kind of input, and then we're back to BE not being competitive with uanff on the price point. because people will think they are competent anyway ;)

Are there no trainers any more? Yonks ago when they first came in I attempted to help someone prepare for her first BE80 and there were course walks and all sorts (you had to be there at the right time but the training was offered). i don't know what the quality was like cos needless to say my person thought she didn't need it so didn't go. (and then got pulled up!!... think this has strongly informed my personal POV because she had come up from the "just have a go" approach and basically wasn't safe. i think she + family thought I was overkill but it turned out some proper prep might have helped :confused:).

I took up the course walk when i did an old CCI* and it was SO helpful I still remember the stuff the pro told us now, it was 12 years ago!
 

ester

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9th/10th oct. It's just that that has been the pattern all year re. not enough before the ballot but not sure if feasible to ballot closer to the event date.
 

Ambers Echo

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I think the difference with a prelim is that you can do a prelim at home. The only way to do a XC course is by doing a XC course. And I would actually not let them go off round it alone in training when they were little - because if they did have a problem and came off I would not necessarily see it and it did not feel safe enough outside of an orgabised event with fence judges and safety protocols in place.

I think Eland Lodge get the entry level - getting you going - bit right. It's a competition but those who are not able to be competitive can enter without feeling intimidated and can learn how to ride a full course. My first 70cm course felt amazing and a genuine challenge. A world away from the feel I got from a clinic. It's friendly and allows kids, green horses, nervous riders etc to give XC riding a go and to learn things like pacing, how fit the rider needs to be (I toitally underestimated that!). I loved it. And the people entering the 50-70cm classes at Eland are not the ones dropping out of the BE80s and 90s so I don't think that is part of the problem really. If anything places like Eland inspire people to believe they can get better and step up because while there are inexperienced combinations giving it a go, there are also competitive combinations who are going clear round a decent track in the time who then make the step to BE. It's the fact that this 'step' seems to be disappearing as you can stay unaff to 100 and still ride in iconic locations that is problematic.

But there are so many different ways of viewing this I guess and potential problems aith every viewpoint. The one thing I do disagree with Eland on is that they allow you to remount after falling. That is a step too far in 'carry on regardless'. Or at least they did a few years ahgo because I fell off Max many years ago before the first fence when he stumbled. I got 60 pens but was allowed to go round.
 
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Kat

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i think the "problem" with this, for me anyway, is that *this* is not a competition.
Being able to skip a fence makes it training. IMO. This is possibly part of the reason why there ends up being a disconnect between bumbling along at the lowest level and then having a huge gulf to cross where you learn how to prepare and train properly because even a BE80 or 90 requires a bit more in the way of focus and competence to avoid running into problems. Why aren't those folk getting that experience in a clinic environment and then competing when they can get round reliably?
I think this kind of thing has a place.

Obviously if you skip a fence or carry on after elimination you aren't going to win or qualify for finals. However if things go badly you can still have a nice day, get round the course and learn from it.

A ODE is massively expensive, it would be gutting not to complete for a reason that has no effect on overall safety. If you get eliminated for leaving your bandages on in the dressage does it matter if you jump xc and SJ but don't get a score? It makes no difference to anyone but the person who has paid a huge wedge of cash for a nice day out.

As a wimpy middle-aged lady if there is one fence on course that gives me the collywobbles does it matter to anyone if I bypass it and get eliminated but complete the rest of the course?

At the last xc clear round I went to I missed the third from last fence. My horse was getting strong and I didn't feel I could get the approach I wanted on the terrain and it was a bit slippy so I skipped it and carried on to jump the last two which I had no concerns about. I don't see why that should matter to anyone but me.

It is just value for money.

You don't get the full experience going to clinics or training days.
 

Roxylola

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I think you'd have to spend a bit more to get that kind of input, and then we're back to BE not being competitive with uanff on the price point. because people will think they are competent anyway ;)

Are there no trainers any more? Yonks ago when they first came in I attempted to help someone prepare for her first BE80 and there were course walks and all sorts (you had to be there at the right time but the training was offered). i don't know what the quality was like cos needless to say my person thought she didn't need it so didn't go. (and then got pulled up!!... think this has strongly informed my personal POV because she had come up from the "just have a go" approach and basically wasn't safe. i think she + family thought I was overkill but it turned out some proper prep might have helped :confused:).

I took up the course walk when i did an old CCI* and it was SO helpful I still remember the stuff the pro told us now, it was 12 years ago!
No, but I think some has been due to covid.
I think there was a course walk at kelsall but it was only certain times which didn't fit with what I could do with my times and travelling etc.
I think something like lucinda greens academy but in a sort of "light" form would be good maybe. Again, I'd pay more membership to get better training happily - not saying it would mean I entered more because it is a lot for me personally to pay and just logistics of working full time, owner/driver being a single parent etc etc.

Eland and the Brigante stuff is to me what good club grassroots should be
 

quizzie

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When I started eventing, there was nothing below Novice.
You belonged to the Pony Club and then a Riding Club for both training and experience.
XC courses were mainly 2'6-2'9 (novice) or 3'-3'3 (open)
Anyone who wanted to jump lower xc courses didn't compete, or would do the clear round or minimus course.
Those who competed BE weren't particularly welcomed back at Riding club - I offered to be available for RC teams and it was made perfectly clear that they'd rather not send a team than take up my offer.
I think BE prostituted itself at the lower levels to get the money but has no real interest in the smaller tracks. There is no interest in the "happy amateur" other than as a source of funds.
In an ideal world, as said above, they should redefine themselves as an aspirational sport and people should have to work their way up to be competent enough to compete. However, that's not going to happen as costs of running events seem to be stuck in an upwards spiral and the lower levels of membership are used to fund the higher.

If I was still competing, I wouldn't be entering anything just at the moment with the state of the ground. It's hard enough to train on, let alone run xc on.

I competed with an aim - all my horses had a career path. I never took a horse out that I didn't feel could be competitive on the day, and I genuinely don't understand why anyone would want to spend 100s of pounds with the vague hope of completing. Go home, spend the money on training and come back when you stand a chance of a decent dressage and a double clear ,😄

I started in the same era, Novice was the first level eventing, and discovery in SJ ...although the courses were less technical in those days.

Local unaffiliated held show jumping all the way up to 3'6", and the open hunter trials were 3'9"...so provided a good training ground for moving up to affiliated. Competitions as such barely existed below 2'6" (75-80cm)

The gradual lowering of the starting levels eroded the financial base for unaffilated/riding club, and they have gradually disappeared or only run to about 2'9/3'.....but now that people are finding the costs too great for affiliated eventing, that middle ground has all but gone.

BE really only seem to want the professionals at Novice plus level now, and treat the lower levels as a cash cow...but that attitude is coming coming back to bite them .

I also think the old concept of a spring and autumn season for eventing was much better for the horses, Spring started last weekend of March and ran to 1st weekend June, then the horses had a break, with Autumn running from August to 1st weekend October. But in the drive for more money, many horses now run from Early March right through to the end of October, inevitably often on unsuitable ground.

I loved eventing back in the "old days", there was a great camaraderie especially at the three day events with the full speed and endurance.....and XC felt like you were crossing the country, not going round a manicured set of portable skinnies!!! Someone said a few years ago at Badminton, that you needed a cross between a top show jumper and a gymkhana pony!!

Rant over!!...I think I was very lucky to compete in what I regard as the heyday of eventing, and really don't miss what it has now become!
 

milliepops

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I think this kind of thing has a place.

Obviously if you skip a fence or carry on after elimination you aren't going to win or qualify for finals. However if things go badly you can still have a nice day, get round the course and learn from it.

A ODE is massively expensive, it would be gutting not to complete for a reason that has no effect on overall safety. If you get eliminated for leaving your bandages on in the dressage does it matter if you jump xc and SJ but don't get a score? It makes no difference to anyone but the person who has paid a huge wedge of cash for a nice day out.

As a wimpy middle-aged lady if there is one fence on course that gives me the collywobbles does it matter to anyone if I bypass it and get eliminated but complete the rest of the course?

At the last xc clear round I went to I missed the third from last fence. My horse was getting strong and I didn't feel I could get the approach I wanted on the terrain and it was a bit slippy so I skipped it and carried on to jump the last two which I had no concerns about. I don't see why that should matter to anyone but me.

It is just value for money.

You don't get the full experience going to clinics or training days.
I do understand everything you've said. I'd have liked going SJ if I could go round the gappy oxers, haha.
Personally i just struggle with that concept forming part of a *competition*. If there was a stronger training scene you could run "have a go days" sort of leading on from what Roxy was talking about with a trainer etc on hand which might be more productive than a person going round in their own head dealing with their own demons - like AE says you do learn a lot when you ride round a course, but you might not learn the right things by yourself. It's no skin off my nose, i don't even have a jumping horse at the moment. but i can't imagine going to a show not even intending to jump the course. and it's a fact of competition life that you sometimes get an E for getting the tack rules wrong, again that's the definition of competition to me, there are parameters you have to meet.
 

ester

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Easier to set up a comp dressage arena than a comp XC course though.
Urchinwood was the only one round us that would do some clear round days, but again no one actually on course, no one even noticed I'd fallen off at one point 😂
 

Ambers Echo

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True but sending kids off round a course I had hired felt a bit reckless with no one to help if they came a cropper miles away.
The safety issue is tricky but I think you are more likely to have under prepared combinations who don’t understand the level of challenge if you don’t have lower level ‘have a go’ events but had to go straight in at BE80 or BE90.

My real problem is people taking that ‘have a go’ mentality to 90/100 tracks. I think that is unfair on horses and unsafe for horse and rider.
 

Bernster

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Yesterday was a have a go non competitive event. Rosette for turning up. As you’d expect there was a wide range of horses and riders, but it was well attended, well run, and great practice for a comp. A nice mid way betweenlessons and comps, although no training elements at that one. I assume be80t was intended to be similar for those getting into BE?
 

Kat

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I do understand everything you've said. I'd have liked going SJ if I could go round the gappy oxers, haha.
Personally i just struggle with that concept forming part of a *competition*. If there was a stronger training scene you could run "have a go days" sort of leading on from what Roxy was talking about with a trainer etc on hand which might be more productive than a person going round in their own head dealing with their own demons - like AE says you do learn a lot when you ride round a course, but you might not learn the right things by yourself. It's no skin off my nose, i don't even have a jumping horse at the moment. but i can't imagine going to a show not even intending to jump the course. and it's a fact of competition life that you sometimes get an E for getting the tack rules wrong, again that's the definition of competition to me, there are parameters you have to meet.
I don't think that is necessarily that people go not intending to jump the course, it is more not being too harsh if for whatever reason they don't feel able to. If someone makes a silly mistake or has a wobble should they forfeit the whole day (and entry fee) or should they be able to enjoy the rest of the activity they have paid for?

I think have a go days are something that could really help encourage people and bring them on. Give them chance to jump a course in semi competition conditions with a little less pressure.

However with the right rules this could be part of the same event and run alongside. Unaffiliated ODE with rules that allow the competitive to compete but are sympathetic to those starting out or building up who might not be competitive, black flag options, ability to miss a fence for a penalty but continue, allowing those eliminated to continue if safe to do so, none of this affects the competitive types who want to qualify for a final, but it might bump up entries to make qualifiers more profitable.

I mentioned that a riding club near me do a kind of have a go day, it is really popular. The HT course is opened up for what they call a clear round. It is relaxed, no strict start times (they give windows to avoid queues or gaps). They don't have a fence judge per fence, they have stewards with a radio per area so each fence is overseen but not individually to keep numbers of volunteers reasonable. No rosettes or prizes or scoring. You can go as fast or slow as you like, alone or in pairs and can have someone on foot if you like. You can pick a height, jump a fence more than once or miss a fence. I used to go to something similar back in the 90s too.

There is clearly demand for this type of thing so why not embrace it?
 

RachelFerd

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When I did an 80T back in 2015 there was a BE trainer present for all three phases warm-ups available to give help and assistance, and then there were also organised course walks with the trainer. I did have a brief chat in the dressage warm-up, but the conversation was broadly "you appear to know what you're doing, do you mind if i focus elsewhere" - which was fine by me.

I think the budget for trainers was cut due to COVID or prior to COVID.
 

RachelFerd

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I don't think that is necessarily that people go not intending to jump the course, it is more not being too harsh if for whatever reason they don't feel able to. If someone makes a silly mistake or has a wobble should they forfeit the whole day (and entry fee) or should they be able to enjoy the rest of the activity they have paid for?

I think have a go days are something that could really help encourage people and bring them on. Give them chance to jump a course in semi competition conditions with a little less pressure.

However with the right rules this could be part of the same event and run alongside. Unaffiliated ODE with rules that allow the competitive to compete but are sympathetic to those starting out or building up who might not be competitive, black flag options, ability to miss a fence for a penalty but continue, allowing those eliminated to continue if safe to do so, none of this affects the competitive types who want to qualify for a final, but it might bump up entries to make qualifiers more profitable.

I mentioned that a riding club near me do a kind of have a go day, it is really popular. The HT course is opened up for what they call a clear round. It is relaxed, no strict start times (they give windows to avoid queues or gaps). They don't have a fence judge per fence, they have stewards with a radio per area so each fence is overseen but not individually to keep numbers of volunteers reasonable. No rosettes or prizes or scoring. You can go as fast or slow as you like, alone or in pairs and can have someone on foot if you like. You can pick a height, jump a fence more than once or miss a fence. I used to go to something similar back in the 90s too.

There is clearly demand for this type of thing so why not embrace it?
Yeah, I don't think there is anything wrong with this - I'd prefer to see the BE venues running days like this for their unaff dates, rather than identikit versions of BE. BE did trial some training events at the start of un-lockdown this year and actually a number of the pros were really complimentary of them being good experience for the more novice horses - not quite as easygoing as what you've described above, but i think it was similar with overseeing areas, height options on XC and no results/records/prizes. No reason why it couldn't be rolled out to be appropriate for more novice riders and combinations too.
 

ester

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They also had the decision on whether you could continue or not (mum had a SJ issue, can't remember what, so had to go be obs in the XC warm up first)
 

milliepops

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My real problem is people taking that ‘have a go’ mentality to 90/100 tracks. I think that is unfair on horses and unsafe for horse and rider.
and that, for me, is why "have a go" needs to be separate from competition, because otherwise it will just naturally bleed upwards ;)

Yesterday was a have a go non competitive event. Rosette for turning up. As you’d expect there was a wide range of horses and riders, but it was well attended, well run, and great practice for a comp. A nice mid way betweenlessons and comps, although no training elements at that one. I assume be80t was intended to be similar for those getting into BE?
thing is BE80 has become a competitive end in itself now, understandably, so there are some really competitive combinations at that level. sounds like the original ethos has sort of fallen away, my fleeting experience was like RFs with trainers at each phase.
 
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