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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

At which level should I start competing?
Each level of competition e.g. Preliminary or Novice is divided in to three sections Gold, Silver and Bronze. The section into which a member may enter is determined by the horses and rider’s experience and points won at each level of competition. Each level will run as one class with all riders being judged by the same judge. At the end of the class, for results and qualification purposes, the class will be divided in to the different sections.

• Bronze sections are for less experienced horses and riders who have just started competing at a given level so that they can compete against those with a similar ability.

• Silver sections are designed for those combinations that have achieved more ability at a level and have demonstrated that they are no longer a beginner at that level.

• Gold sections are for riders who have gained experience at higher levels and are riding a horse with less experience, or for combinations who have demonstrated that they are competent at a level. There is no obligation for a combination to move out of the Gold section at any given level should they not wish to compete at the levels above.

Can non-members compete in affiliated prelim classes?
Only members of BD may ride in affiliated competitions or register as the owner of a horse/pony. To compete at Introductory level riders must be a minimum of associate members and their horse must hold an associate horse registration. For Introductory, Preliminary Bronze and Gold, Music, Young Horse and Para Equestrian classes, horses must be registered either fully or have associate horse registration; riders must hold a mininum Quest Club membership or ride on a ticket (see below). Assoicate membership is free of charge and allows BD to record a horse’s details and results. An associate member may register an associate horse.

How do the points work?
You win points when you compete in an affiliated class at Prelim level and above and score a minimum of 60%. Points are awarded to the horse/rider according to the percentage they score, 60% and above. For example, if you score 65% in an elementary class, the horse/rider wins three points.

Do I need to plait my horse when I compete in affiliated classes?
There are no rules to say you must plait your horse, but most people do.

What should I wear?
To find out how to get started and what to wear, click here.

Can my horse wear boots and bandages?
They are allowed while warming-up, but not during a test. If the horse’s boots/bandages are left on during its test there will be a six mark deduction.

Can my trainer warm up my horse?
Yes, except in winter, summer, music regionals and championships when no-one other than the competitor may school the horse from the saddle for the duration of the show, Except for Grade I and II Para dressage riders.


Do I have to leave the arena at A at the end of a test?
Riders are to leave the arena (after the final salute) at walk on a long rein at an appropriate place. A test begins when the horse enters at A and finishes when it moves off from the final salute.

Is rising trot allowed?
Trot work may be ridden sitting or rising for all tests at Elementary level and below. At Medium level trot work must be ridden sitting except extended/Medium trot movements, which may be ridden in rising. At Advanced Medium level and above sitting trot is mandatory. For National Young Horses tests in 4, 5 and 6 year old classes trot work may be sitting or rising. FEI tests, including Young Horse tests, require sitting trot. Except where specifically stated otherwise.

Which Myler bits are permitted under BD rules?
MB09 snaffle, MB01 snaffle, MB02 snaffle wide barrel, MB32 mullen barrel. Cheeks: Loose ring (without sleeve), Dee ring, Eggbut and Full cheek. All must be used WITHOUT hooks. A mix of metals is allowed within the mouthpiece.

What are class tickets?
Class tickets enable those without a paid BD membership or horse registration to compete in an affiliated BD class. To compete on a class ticket, both the rider and horse must hold associate BD registration which is free of charge and be eligible for the class concerned. Each ticket enables them to enter one affiliated class. Holders of class tickets must also pay the entry fees and are subject to the rules contained in the BD Members Handbook. Class tickets may be used at any level (except music classes) provided the rider is eligible to compete in the class entered. Those riding on a class ticket are eligible to win prize money, rosettes and grading points but are not eligible to qualify for any championships or Area Festivals.
Class tickets may not be used to compete in music classes as BD membership is required for PPL licensing. You can buy a class ticket in our Online shop. These are also available in the competition section of this website. You will need to pay the usual entry fee and abide by our rules.

What are wild cards and when are they given?
Wild cards are a means of qualifying for a championship other than gaining qualification at the winter or summer regional finals. Immediately after the last winter or summer regional, those qualified at each level are listed and the remaining places in the relevant championship class are filled by non-qualified competitors with the next highest percentages from across all the regional finals. Wild cards are only distributed after all championship places have been allocated to those who qualify by right.

The British Dressage board reserves the right to offer places for any championship. This system is used mainly for higher-level classes at the National Championships and for horses selectors would like to see in top-class competitions.