The fixtures have been set, dates rescheduled and venues up and down the country are getting ready to open up their doors again and welcome you back to the arena from Monday 29 March.
We know how excited everyone is to get back to competing; as it's been a while since we've all been able to go to a competition we've put together a handy checklist to make sure you're ready to go:
1. Check your membership and horse registration
Remember that in order to be eligible to compete in a BD competition, you must have an up-to-date membership and horse registration. You can check your current membership status on your BD Online profile - if you see 'lapsed' on yours/ your horse's record you will need to renew, which you can do through your profile. Don't forget if you're an owner you'll also need a current membership!
Not sure which level of membership package you need? Take a look at our membership packages summary which outlines which membership you need depending on what level you are competing at.
2. Brush up on the Members' Handbook
Produced in a digital format this year, as part of our commitment to cut down on paper use, transport miles, and to help with our green credentials, the 2021 Members' Handbook is our one stop shop for everything you need to know on competitions.
Our online version allows you to bookmark key pages, download a copy to your device and is fully searchable so you can quickly find the information you need. Check which competition levels and sections you and your horse are eligible for and remind yourself of the rules, including those that are new for 2021:
3. Plan your 2021 competition goals
Whether you're aiming for Quest, Associated Championships, Area Festivals or Regionals...it's important to set our your competition goals for the season in advance to help you plan when and how you need to qualify.
Start by using the eligibility tables in the Members' Handbook to check what levels, sections and competitions you can compete in. Once you've decided which competition to aim for, visit our online schedules where you can search by date, venue, county, level etc. to narrow down the options available in your local area.
4. COVID-19 competition guidelines
We've put together a competitor toolkit, which outlines all of the COVID-19 protocols that are in place to keep everyone safe while competing. It's really important that you spend some time familiarising yourself with these prior to competing as we all have a part to play in ensuring we minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19 and keep the sport going.
Our Coronavirus Hub also includes our member FAQs and operational plan, which outlines how we plan to restart our sport and includes all of the rescheduled competitions for the remainder of 2021. You can also find all of the latest COVID-19 related news and updates here:
Our BD accredited coaches are here to help you get competition ready with flexi-training. If you feel like you need some extra support getting back to training and competing then you can book a one-to-one session with a BD accredited coach in your local area through your regional training page:
6. Catch up on BD at home
From training tips with the likes of Emile Faurie and Laura Tomlinson and Ask the Expert sessions with some key equestrian brands, to helping you increase your fitness sensibly - we've got lots of videos as part of BD at home that have been created to help you prepare for your return to the arena.
7. Check your competition tack
It's time to dust down your competition tack and make sure it's all still in good working order! As it's probably been a while since you had to use it, now is the time to check the stitching, metal work, keepers, etc. By checking this now you'll give yourself plenty of time to get any repairs or alterations done if they're needed.
Also, don't forget to check our 2021 Approved Tack Guide:
8. Hat safety
Making sure your hat is the right standard before you go out and compete is really important. Watch our Ask the Expert video with Charles Owen to know what to look out for when choosing a hat, as well as seeing what goes into making sure your helmet is as safe as it can be to protect you when training, competing and handling your horse.
And don't forget - top hats are no longer permitted.
9. Are you ready to travel?
Make sure your equine transport is ready for the road, especially if you haven't used it for a while due to lockdown. Checking fluid levels, tyres, brakes and flooring are all really important before you start travelling to competitions.
Also, don't forget to check your horsebox insurance is up to date and the right level of cover for what you need. Watch our recent Ask the Expert video with Shearwater Insurance as they answer member questions on horsebox insurance:
10. Your horse's vaccinations
Check your horse’s vaccinations – although there will be an amnesty period to enable you to get your six month booster up to date, you must still have the annual vaccination requirement.
We strongly recommend that owners get up to date with the six monthly booster at the earliest opportunity to minimise the risk of equine influenza spreading once horses begin mixing again. For the full details on the vaccination amnesty, visit our news story on how we are planning for the safe return of competitions below: