Feb 04, 2023

Rule Refresher: What Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MER) Do I Need to Meet?

By Meagan DeLisle - USEA Staff
MIPSY Media photo

It’s a new year and a new eventing season—time to go out and meet your eventing goals for the season! For some eventers, that goal is a move up to a new level. As you plan your season out around meeting the Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MER) to qualify for a move up, it's important that you are up to date on the most recent rules in the USEF Rules for Eventing.

Text has been taken directly from the USEF Rules for Eventing with emphasis added by the USEA.

APPENDIX 3 - PARTICIPATION IN HORSE TRIALS

All Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MER), except Classic Three-Day Events, must be obtained within a 4-year period. One MER must be obtained within 12 weeks of the Event for which it is needed when moving from one level to the next.

USEA Note: The MER score has changed for dressage and cross-country to align with the FEI score requirements; the show jumping score remains at no more than 16 show jumping penalties. Previously, the dressage score was not more than 50 penalty points, and the cross-country time was no more than 90 seconds (36 penalty points).

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 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; 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 Federation 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 Federation requirements do not need to be achieved as a combination.

USEA NOTE: Previously only the rider had to obtain 4 MERs at Training/Modified, no requirements for the horse. The new qualifications require two additional MERs for the rider and 4 MERS for the horse. New for Preliminary, Intermediate, and Advanced, one MER must be obtained as a combination, unless the rider has more than 10 MERS at the level, the combination requirement is waived.

3. LEVELS OF HORSE TRIALS AND EVENTS

All MER requirements for Modified, Preliminary, Intermediate, and Advanced levels (except Classic Three-day Events), are required for Horses and Athletes to move from one level to the next. After obtaining an MER at the Intro level or above horses and riders are established at the level. Horses and athletes having achieved an MER at the level and have not competed at the level over twelve-months must achieve a MER at the next lowest height level – see EV105.1.

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 six Horse Trials at the Training Level or higher. The Horse must have obtained an MER at four Horse Trials at the Training Level or higher: One of the four MERs must be as a combination. Athletes with more than 10 MERs at the Preliminary Level or higher are exempt from one MER in combination.

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 MER’s 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 MER’s at the Training Level or higher. Qualifying Events must be completed within a 24 month period of the start of the Classic Competition.

3.7 MODIFIED 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 MER’s 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. Qualifying competitions must be completed within a 24 month period of the start of the Classic Competition.

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. The Athlete must have obtained an MER at six Horse Trials at the Preliminary Level or higher. The horse must have obtained an MER at four Horse Trials at the Preliminary Level or higher: One of the four MERs must be as a combination. Competitors with more than 10 MERs at the Intermediate Level or higher are exempt from one MER in combination.

3.10 ADVANCED (A) - Open to competitors from the beginning of the calendar year of their 18th birthday, on horses six years of age or older. The Athlete must have obtained an MER at six Horse Trials at the Intermediate Level or higher. The Horse must have obtained an MER at four Horse Trials at the Intermediate Level or higher: One of the four MERs must be as a combination. Athletes with more than 10 MERs at the Advanced Level or higher are exempt from one MER in combination. BOD 7/25/22 Effective 12/1/22

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

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