Dec 26, 2020

Rule Refresher: Am I Qualified?

By USEA
USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

In just a few short weeks, the first events of 2021 will take place in sunny Florida on the East Coast and California on the West Coast. For those lucky riders headed south to escape the snow, it's time to send in those entries, practice those dressage tests, and polish that tack in preparation for the start of the season. For the rest of us sticking out the winter up north, there's still time for some more winter gridwork before the season starts.

Part of the goal-planning process is making sure that both you and your horses have the appropriate qualifications for the level you intend to compete. To help you prepare, we are taking a look at Appendix 3 – Participation in Horse Trials. Text has been taken directly from the USEF Rules for Eventing, with emphasis added by the USEA.

Appendix 3 - Participation In Horse Trials

A competitor and/or a horse may be entered in a horse trial without having fulfilled the qualifications noted below, provided the qualifications have been fulfilled at least 10 days before the cross-country test of the competition for which it is needed if the MER has been achieved at a horse trial or CCI-S or at least 24 days if the MER has been achieved at a CCI-L. For Preliminary, Modified, and Training Classic Three-Day Events, qualifying competitions must be completed within a 24-month period of the start of the competition. At the CCI* level and above, at least one MER must be obtained in the 12-month period prior to the competition. e.g. a horse and/or rider who have achieved a MER at a CCI4* level of competition and who have not competed for over 12 months must first achieve a MER at
the next lowest height level.

1. SECTIONS

1.1 JUNIOR (J) - For the purpose of competing in national horse trials, competitors may compete as Juniors through the end of the calendar year of their 18th birthday.

1.2 YOUNG RIDER (YR) - Open to competitors from the beginning of the calendar year of their 16th birthday through the end of the calendar year of their 21st birthday.

1.3 AMATEUR (A) The following may participate in Eventing competitions as an Amateur:

  • Any competitor in possession of a valid Amateur card issued by the USEF; or
  • Any Senior USEA member who competes in the Training, Novice, or Beginner Novice Level who meets the requirements of Federation GR1306. Individuals declaring such status must present, upon demand, an audited financial statement in support of the claim of eligibility; failure to do so will be deemed a violation. Misrepresentation of eligibility under this provision will subject an individual to disciplinary action under GR1307.6, GR1307.8, and GR1308.3. Amateur certification under this provision is valid for eventing competitions only and does not confer Amateur status for participation in any other breed or discipline.

1.4 For the purposes of this rule, in differentiating eligibility for Horse and Rider sections, FEI divisions are considered to be one level higher than the equivalent national division, e.g. FEI Two Star is one level higher than a Preliminary horse trial. A rider who has completed an event at the Advanced level is not eligible to compete as an Intermediate rider.

1.5 RIDER (R) - Open to competitors who have not completed an event above the next highest level in the five years preceding the date of the competition, e.g. a Novice Rider may have completed an event at Training level, but not Modified or Preliminary level or higher in the five years preceding the date of the competition; a Training Rider may have completed an event at Modified or Preliminary level, but not Intermediate level or higher in the five years preceding the date of the competition.

1.6 HORSE (H) - Open to competitors of any age, horse may not have completed an event above the next highest level. e.g. a Novice Horse may have completed an event at Training level, but not Modified or Preliminary level or higher; a Training Horse may have completed an event at Modified or Preliminary level, but not Intermediate level or higher.

1.7 YOUNG HORSE (YH) - Open to competitors of any age, horse may not have competed above the level and
meets the following age restrictions
:

a. Novice - four or five years of age.
b. Training - four or five years of age.
c. Modified - five or six years of age.
d. Preliminary - five or six years of age.
e. Intermediate - six or seven years of age.
f. Advanced - six or seven years of age.

1.8 OPEN (O) - Both horse and rider may have competed at any level.

1.9 CHAMPIONSHIP (CH) - open to all qualified riders on qualified horses.

1.10 OTHER - Restricted by breed or other designation as defined by Organizing Committee, approved by the
Federation/USEA, and designated in the Omnibus listing.

2. DEFINITIONS

2.1 Completion: means having completed the entire horse trial with a numerical score.

2.2 Minimum Eligibility Requirement

2.2.1 When achieved at a national horse trials an MER is achieved by completing the entire horse trial and scoring.

-not more than 50 penalty points in the dressage test; and no jumping penalties at obstacles on the cross-country test unless specified otherwise, and not more than 90 seconds (36 penalty points) exceeding the optimum time; and not more than 16 penalties at obstacles in the jumping test.

-25 penalty points received for Dangerous Riding will not achieve a National Qualifying result. Exceptions to the qualifications noted below may only be approved by the Credentials Committee.

2.2.2 When achieved at an FEI Competition an MER is achieved by completing the entire horse trial and scoring.

-not more than 45 penalty points in the dressage test; and no jumping penalties at obstacles on the cross-country test unless specified otherwise, and not more than 75 seconds (30 penalty points) exceeding the optimum time for one-, two-, three-, and four-star competitions and 100 seconds (40 penalty points) exceeding the optimum time for five-star competitions; and not more than 16 penalties at obstacles in the jumping test (see Article 517 of the FEI Eventing Rules).

2.3 Uncategorized Rider: Riders who have not been categorized through proven competence at certain levels of competition i.e. A rider, B riders, etc. by the FEI per Article 520 of the FEI Eventing Rules for the purpose of determining rider eligibility for international horse trials and events. All requirements of the FEI must be achieved as a combination. When multiple Minimum Eligibility Requirements are required, one of the Minimum Eligibility Requirements can be achieved incurring 20 penalties at the obstacles of the cross-country test. All USEF requirements do not need to be achieved as a combination.

2.4 Categorized Riders: Riders who have been categorized through proven competence at certain levels of competition A riders, B riders, etc. by the FEI per Article 520 of the FEI Eventing Rules for the purpose of determining rider eligibility for international horse trials and events. When multiple Minimum Eligibility Requirements are required, one of the Minimum Eligibility Requirements can be achieved incurring 20 penalties at the obstacles of the cross-country test. All USEF requirements do not need to be achieved as a combination.

3. LEVELS OF HORSE TRIALS AND EVENTS

3.1 BEGINNER NOVICE (B) - Open to competitors of any age, on horses four years of age and older.

3.2 NOVICE (N) - Open to competitors of any age, on horses four years of age or older.

3.3 TRAINING (T) - Open to competitors of any age, on horses four years of age or older.

3.4 MODIFIED (M) – Open to competitors of any age, on horses four years of age or older. The competitor must have obtained an MER at two horse trials at the Training level or higher.

3.5 PRELIMINARY (P) - Open to competitors from the beginning of the calendar year of their 14th birthday, on horses five years of age or older. The competitor must have obtained an MER at four horse trials at the Training level or higher.

3.6 TRAINING CLASSIC THREE-DAY EVENT- Open to competitors of any age, on horses four years of age or older. Both the competitor and the horse as a combination must have obtained MERs at three horse trials at the Training level or higher, plus an additional MER at the Training level or higher with no more than 20 jumping penalties at obstacles on the cross-country test. A competitor established at the Preliminary level may compete on a horse which has obtained 2 MERs at the Training level or higher.

3.7 MODIFIED CLASSIC THREE-DAY EVENT- Open to competitors of any age, on horses five years of age or older. Both the competitor and the horse as a combination must have obtained MERs at three horse trials at the Training level or higher, plus an additional MER at Modified level or higher with no jumping penalties at obstacles on the cross-country test. A competitor established at the Preliminary level may compete on a horse which has obtained two MERs at the Training level or higher. Qualifying competitions must be completed within a 24 month period of the start of the Classic competition.

3.8 PRELIMINARY CLASSIC THREE-DAY EVENT- Open to competitors beginning the calendar year of their 14th birthday, on horses five years of age or older. Both the competitor and the horse as a combination, must have obtained an MER at three horse trials at the Preliminary level or higher, plus an additional MER at the Preliminary level or higher with no more than 20 jumping penalties at obstacles on the cross-country test.

3.9 INTERMEDIATE (I) - Open to competitors from the beginning of the calendar year of their 16th birthday, on horses six years of age or older. Both the competitor and the horse, though not necessarily as a combination, must have obtained an MER at three horse trials at the Preliminary level or higher, plus an additional MER at the Preliminary level or higher with no more than 20 jumping penalties at obstacles on the cross-country test.

3.10 ADVANCED (A)

3.10.1 UNCATEGORIZED RIDERS - Open to competitors from the beginning of the calendar year of their 18th birthday, on horses six years of age or older. Both the competitor and the horse, though not necessarily as a combination, must have obtained a minimum of one MER with no more than 20 jumping penalties at obstacles on the cross-country test, at either a CCI3* or Intermediate level plus three MERs at the Intermediate level or higher.

3.10.2 CATEGORIZED RIDERS - Open to competitors from the beginning of the calendar year of their 18th birthday, on horses six years of age or older. Both the competitor and the horse, though not necessarily as a combination, must have obtained a minimum of one MER with no more than 20 jumping penalties at obstacles on the cross-country test, at either a CCI3* or Intermediate level plus two MERs at the Intermediate level or higher.

4. LEVELS OF INTERNATIONAL HORSE TRIALS AND EVENTS

4.1 UNCATEGORIZED RIDERS

Listed below are the USEF requirements to compete in an FEI competition. Additionally, all horses and riders must meet the Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MER) published by the FEI which must be achieved by competitor and horse as a combination. Where FEI requirements refer to a “CCI” this may be satisfied by achieving an MER at a CCI-L or CCI-S of the level stated. When multiple MERs are required, one of the Minimum Eligibility Requirements can be achieved incurring 20 penalties at the obstacles of the cross-country test. All USEF requirements do not need to be achieved as a combination.

At the CCI* level and above, at least one MER must be obtained in the 12-month period prior to the competition. e.g. a horse and/or rider who have achieved a MER at a CCI4* level of competition and who have not competed for over 12 months must first achieve an MER at the next lowest height level.

Want to catch up on past rule refreshers? Click here.

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