Know Your Qualifications: CIC3* and CCI3*

Lizzie Snow and Coal Creek at Galway Downs CCI3*. Photo by Jenni Autry. Lizzie Snow and Coal Creek at Galway Downs CCI3*. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Welcome back to our qualification series. We are now up to three-star qualifications. If you aren’t ready to compete at this level or need a refresher on all the ins and outs, check out our CIC* and CCI* Qualifications and CIC2* and CCI2* Qualifications.

At the three-star level, the qualifications get into a bit of a snarl. The options you used for the two-star level will continue to affect your path through this level.

As always, we will be referring to the USEF Eventing Rules and the FEI Rules for Eventing. To refresh everyone’s memory, MER (or NQR) are still in effect. To achieve either at a given show, you must:

  • Score 75.0 or below in dressage (50.0 for NQR)
  • No jump penalties on cross country
  • No more than 90 seconds over optimum time on cross country, which equates to 36.0 time penalties
  • Four rails or less in show jumping

Important things to remember when thinking about qualifications:

  • MER requirements must be obtained as a pair.
  • NQR requirements can be obtained separately.
  • One qualifying result (either MER or NQR) must be obtained within 12 months of the show you are entering.
  • One cross country jump penalty may appear in one of the MER results only if multiple MER qualifications are required.
  • All NQR results must be clear of cross country jump penalties unless otherwise specified.
Three Star Qualifications Chart.

Click for a larger view and downloadable PDF!

Interestingly enough, riders may now attempt a CIC3* without previously running Advanced. However, it is generally accepted practice for new riders to run at least one Advanced prior to their first attempt at a CIC3*.

CIC3*

  • Two NQR at Intermediate or above for both horse and rider. Both must be clear of XC jump penalties.
  • Option One:
    • Two MER at CIC2*, achieved as a pair.
    • One of the two MER may have 20 cross country jump penalties.
  • Option Two:
    • One MER at CIC2*, achieved as a pair.
    • One MER at CCI2*, achieved as a pair.
    • One of the two MER may have 20 cross country jump penalties.
  • One of the four qualifications achieved within 12 months.

The primary advantage of choosing Option One is that a rider can attempt a CIC3* in the middle of a season or perhaps as a prep for a CCI2*. Ultimately, each pair will need to achieve an MER at a CCI2* regardless if they wish to move on, but achieving Option One allows more flexibility in the qualification path. If a pair hits a stumbling block at their CCI2* but feel prepared to move up to the blue flags, they can work toward obtaining both a CIC3* and CCI2* the following season.

If they choose Option Two, they will need to wait until after achieving a CCI2* to attempt a CIC3*, which would generally have to wait until the following event season. The most obvious advantage to this path is saving the cost of the additional FEI event.

At this point, note that choices made at the one-star level continue to affect the riders at the three-star level. Choosing to run only a CIC* will force the riders to run two CIC2*, therefore qualifying them for a CIC3* and CCI2* simultaneously, whereas CCI* riders will need an additional CIC2* or to run their CCI2* in order to achieve qualifications for CIC3*.

CCI3*

  • One NQR at Advanced for both horse and rider. Must be clear of cross country jump penalties.
  • One MER at CCI2*, achieved as a pair.
  • One MER at CIC3*, achieved as a pair.
  • One of the two MER may have 20 XC jump penalties.
  • One of the three qualifications achieved within 12 months.

At this point, there are no options. CCI3* requires one each of three types of shows, and since CCI3* is considered as the final preparation for four-star level, riders should feel confident that they and their horses have sufficient experience to attempt it.

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