Feb 05, 2019

Rule Refresher: Qualifications for Horse Trials

By USEA
USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

The 2019 competition season is well underway down in sunny Florida, meaning that those in the South are sending in their first entries of the season and preparing to trot down the centerline while those in the North are planning their goals for when the temperatures warm back up.

The best way to ensure a successful start to the season is to make sure you achieve the necessary qualifications to achieve the goals you set for the year. 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.

Please keep in mind that the verbiage of the USEF Rules for Eventing has been updated to reflect the changes to the FEI Star System. To view the rules for FEI competitions, visit the FEI website.

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. 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 twelve 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:
a. Any competitor in possession of a valid Amateur card issued by the USEF;
b. 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, GR1308.3 and Chapter 6. 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 5 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 5 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 5 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).

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 THREE-DAY EVENT- Open to competitors of any age, on horses four years of age or older. Both the competitor and the horse must have obtained an MER at four Horse Trials at the Training Level or higher, one of which must be attained as a combination. A competitor established at the Preliminary Level may compete on a horse which has obtained two MERs at the Training Level or higher.

3.7 PRELIMINARY 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, 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.

3.8 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.

3.9 ADVANCED (A)
3.9.1 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.
3.9.2 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.

Want to catch up on past rule refreshers? Visit the links below:

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