BD online competitions: time to get back riding and training with approved providers
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With riding back on every dressage enthusiast’s agenda, the thoughts of many are already turning towards to competing. Although trotting down the centre line at your favourite venue may be a little while off yet, now is the ideal time to get some helpful training and practice underway using online providers, such as our long-time partners at Dressage Anywhere.
Online competition is an ideal option for members to consider while organised British Dressage (BD) shows are still suspended, providing the perfect solution for social distancing. All it requires is a horse and rider, with someone to film your test. As long as you have access to your horse and suitable facilities, in accordance with the relevant government guidelines in England, Scotland and Wales, you can get back in the saddle and start competing again remotely, until such time as venues can resume activity. Your test is sent electronically for a judge to watch and mark, while all communication is managed digitally online, so no in-person contact is required.
During the initial lockdown period many operators started to offer online dressage activity as an alternative to keep riders active. However, it is vitally important that these are regulated and controlled to provide the necessary level of protection for our members, ensuring that all competitions that use BD tests are run with integrity and in accordance with BD rules. We have therefore put a process in place for organisers of online dressage to apply for ‘approved provider’ status in order to be authorised to use BD tests for digital purposes.
This will provide assurance for all participants that their personal information and financial details are safe and secure when taking part, as well as meeting the necessary safeguarding, data protection and welfare standards that apply to all BD organisers and venues.
All approved online providers will be expected to:
- Run competitions in accordance with BD rules, including tack and equipment
- Offer 20 x 40m and 20 x 60m BD tests at levels up to and including Advanced Medium
- Ensure that all tests are judged by a BD listed judge at the appropriate level
- Comply with all GDPR, safeguarding and welfare standards and procedures
- Have adequate insurance and consumer protection policies in place.
A full list of criteria and applications forms are available on request. In order to legally use BD copyright tests, online providers must be licensed in advance in order to be will be granted approved status. A bespoke BD logo will indicate their status as an authorised provider. Members should note that those providers without this endorsement will not have received permission to use BD tests and may not meet the required standards.
Sport Operations Manager Lou Jones commented; “A number of online providers understandably identified an opportunity when live competition shut down due to the virus outbreak. As the National Governing Body for dressage, it is important that all competitions using BD tests are run with integrity, whether in person or remotely, and that the necessary protections are put in place for both competitors and judges. Those with good business practices in place will be able meet the criteria and be named as approved providers.”
“We’re in the process of making contact with as many existing suppliers as our research has uncovered, but anyone else is welcome to get in touch to receive a copy of the criteria sheet and an application form. We will aim to fast track approved status during the crisis, to enable providers to get up and running and quickly as possible, with a view to formalising an affiliation agreement in due course,” she added.
Dressage Anywhere were the first online platform to be officially recognised by BD almost a decade ago and have continued to go from strength to strength in that time. In the coming weeks, BD and Dressage Anywhere will be working closely together to encourage members to film and submit their tests, in both training and competition classes, to help build fitness, measure training goals and prepare for the resumption of ‘live’ activity from next month.
Dressage Anywhere also runs Pony Club and British Eventing tests, so they offer something for everyone. There’s a schedule already in place for later this month, with entries closing on 26 May. The team is planning a full schedule for June, with a number of dedicated classes for ex-racers, veterans, Pony Club and Para, as well as standard BD tests – both for training and competition purposes.