British Eventing is the organisation responsible for horse trials in the UK and if you want to take part in affiliated horse trials then you have to join this sporting discipline.
British Eventing offers a range of membership options and subscriptions but there are other things you will need to pay for.
You need to join yourself and then also join your horse or horses. If your horse is owned by someone else then the owner will also need to join or they can transfer horse ownership to you just for the purposes of eventing competitions.
The entry point for British Eventing is called the Grass Roots with courses at 80, 90 and 100. The rulebook explains what is included in each level and most riders start at BE80 or BE90 – there are eligibility criteria for the higher levels to protect horse and rider safety.
BE80 is usually described as BE80T with the ‘T’ standing for ‘training’. This level is supported by a network of BE coaches who offer course walks for both show jumping and cross-country and are available in all of the warm-up areas on the day of competition for help and advice.
Most riders will have much of the equipment required for horse trials but there are some special items and requirements to be aware of:-
British Eventing has a list of fixtures on their website and you can see at a glance when schedules are available and then when entries open. There are quite complex rules about entries particularly if an event is oversubscribed so it is worth familiarizing yourself with these on the BE website.
You will need to enter before the ballot date. The ballot date is used to streamline entries if a particular competition has too many competitors. To enter, you will need to purchase a season ticket for your horse which will give different types of entry criteria and can affect your likelihood of getting in at a popular venue.
The entry is done online and, with a pre-purchased season ticket and a registered horse, is quick and simple to do. The entry at BE100 level and below will be between £80 and £90 per horse and there is also a start fee payable on the day, usually around £15-£17 but this depends on the level of competition.
Entries are usually taken as confirmed once the ballot date is passed – if you are balloted out, you will be informed. Section times are listed about a week before the competition for rider guidance and then the exact times are published two or three days before the competition. Each discipline is allocated a specific time – some venues stick to these rigidly but others are more flexible and if you turn up roundabout your time to warm up, they will take you when you are ready. Dressage is the exception to this usually.