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Frequently Asked Questions

Should I compete in the open or restricted section?
Classes are split into open and restricted sections to create fair competition. The section you compete in is determined by your rider group. The restricted section is for riders who have won points at that level and up to 14 points at the next level up; the open section is for riders who have won more than 14 points at levels higher than the one they are competing in. For example, if a rider has won more than 14 points at medium or any points at advanced medium or above, they will need to compete in the open sections at levels lower than medium.

Can non-members compete in affiliated prelim classes?
Yes. Prelim classes are split into non qualifying and qualifying classes. The non qualifying section is for anyone, member or non-member, riding a registered or non-registered horse which must not have won more than 49 points. Those competing in non qualifying sections (previously known as the open section) do not qualify for summer or winter regional finals.

How do the points work?
You win points when you compete in an affiliated class at novice level and above and score more than 60%. The points are awarded to the horse according to the percentage they score above 60%. For example, if you score 65% in an elementary class, the horse wins three points.

At which level should I start competing?
The level you compete at is restricted by the number of points your horse has won. If your horse has no points, you do not have to start competing at the lower levels, but to compete in a prix st georges class, you must have scored 62% or above in an advanced test.

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.

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 disabled classes grade I and II.

Do I have to leave the arena at A at the end of a test?
No, you may leave the arena on a long rein where appropriate.

Is rising trot allowed?
You can do sitting or rising trot during all tests up to and including elementary level.

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?
By buying a class ticket, you can enter one British Dressage class without being a member or having a registered horse. You can use class tickets to compete and will be eligible to win rosettes and prize money, but will not receive BD points or qualification, except for Area Festivals and Combined Training Championships. If a rider using a class ticket wins a qualifier other than those specified above, qualification will pass to the next eligible competitor. 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.