Aug 10, 2020

How Strong is Your Novice Game?

Abigail Mazzatta and Woodstock's Little Nev had the record finishing score at Novice in 2019. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

How competitive have your Novice results been? What’s a good final score? What’s a good dressage score? What does it take to win? In our third installment of this series, EquiRatings showcases the Novice level. Use these graphs and statistics to help evaluate your Novice game.

How are people scoring at Novice?

These graphs show Novice performance across the board, from sub-28 to DNF (Did Not Finish). Take a look to see what scores the Novice population is getting. What scores do you usually get? We give you some of our takeaways to get you started.

The Show Jumping Zones and the Cross-Country Zones include time and jumping penalties.

The Big Picture at Novice

Finishing Score Zones

  • Sub-28 Zone: Over 1 in 20 Novice starters (6%) finish sub-28. This is the highest percentage of any U.S. national level.
  • 60+ Zone: On the other end of the spectrum, 1 in 10 Novice starters (10%) finish with 60 penalties or more.
  • 32 to 40: One-third of Novice starters (33%) finish in the 32 to 40 range.

Per-Phase Zones

  • About half of Novice starters (47%) get a dressage score between 31 and 37.
  • Half of Novice show jumping starters keep all the poles up and finish within the time.
  • Nearly two in three Novice cross-country starters (63%) finish clear and within the optimum time. This is the highest percentage of any U.S. national level.

The Target Score for a Win at Novice

Eventing is about putting all three phases together to finish strong, but what is a strong finish at the Novice level? What types of tests and rounds are the top finishers producing? The graphs and tables below show you what it takes to win.

TOP FINISHING SCORES

  • Almost half of Novice winners (45%) finish sub-28. This is the highest percentage of any U.S. national level.
  • Most Novice third-place finishers (66%) score between 28 and 36.

Dressage - What Does a Strong Start Look Like at Novice?

Final Position

Average
Dressage Score

Started as
Dressage Leader

Started 10 Marks or Less From Dressage Leader

Started More Than 10 Marks from Dressage Leader

Winner

28.0

50.0%

49.0%

1.0%

Third Place

31.8

4.8%

85.2%

10.0%

Using 2017 – 2019 Novice data.

  • Novice winners average a dressage score of 28.0. This is the only U.S. national level with a winner’s dressage average below 29.0.
  • Half of all Novice winners are leaders after the first phase.
  • Most Novice third-place finishers (nearly 9 in 10, 85.2%) are not the dressage leader but are within 10 marks after the first phase.

Show Jumping - Can You Afford to Knock a Pole at Novice?

Final Position

0 Show Jumping Penalties

1 to 4 Show Jumping Penalties

5 or More Show Jumping Penalties

Winner

86.7%

11.7%

1.7%

Third Place

70.4%

24.0%

5.6%

Using 2017 – 2019 Novice data. This table includes show jumping time penalties and jumping penalties.

  • A clean show jumping round is critical for a win at Novice. Almost 9 in 10 winners (86.7%) keep all the rails up and finish under time.
  • Nearly one in three third-place finishers (29.6%) do have show jumping faults but, of these, few have more than a pole.

Cross-Country - Do You Need to be Clear Inside the Time at Novice?

Final Position

Clear Inside the Time

Average Cross-Country Time Penalties

Winner

93%

0.1

Third Place

88%

0.4

Using 2017 – 2019 Novice data. Clear Inside the Time includes all runs that were clear jumping with no time penalties (whether for going over the optimum time or for going too far under the time).

  • A clean jumping cross-country round is critical to success, but it’s also important to get the time right. Almost all Novice winners (over nine in 10, 93%) finish cross-country clear and without time penalties.
  • Almost nine out of every 10 third-place finishers (88%) complete cross-country clear and without time penalties.

What are the 2019 record performances?

Lastly, we have pulled the 2019 record dressage scores and record finishing scores from the Novice level. These are some very impressive numbers!

How Can You Use These Numbers?

Have these statistics given you some clarity? They’re here to help you set goals. Of course, long-term goal-setting is not about comparison; you have to stay in your lane or risk being robbed of joy. If your main goal is to have fun with your horse and put your game face on every once in a while, that is awesome! Use these numbers just for fun. If your goal is to be a bit more competitive, now you know what it takes and can set targets. Let each target serve as a stepping stone in your eventing journey.

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