The new Modified level was created as a stepping stone between the Training and Preliminary levels. It made its debut in USEA recognized competitions beginning in 2017. Many have argued that the step up from Training to Preliminary is one of the largest in the sport, and introduces many new challenges including fence height, fence width and increased complexities in all three phases.
- The Modified level is open to horses 4-years-old and older.
- Riders must achieve two NQRs at Training level to compete at Modified.
- Max height of both cross country and show jumping fences: 3’5”
- Cross country course distance: 2200m-3000m with 22-28 jumping efforts
- Cross country speed: 490mpm
- Show jumping speed: 325 mpm with 10-13 jumping efforts
- Flags are numbered with an orange number on a blue background
- Cross country courses can include angled lines, corners, varied terrain and combinations with water or narrow fences.
- The show jumping course will include two doubles, or a double and a triple combination.
- The dressage test will be held in a small ring and will include leg yield, medium gaits and changes of lead through the trot. See 2018 Modified Test A and Modified Test B.
Carolina Horse Park offered the Modified level at Five Points H.T. on September 8, 2018, with two divisions and more than 30 competitors.
The Decision to Compete Modified
I compete as an amateur. My horse Highly Discreet (“Milo”) and I have been competing at the Training level for two years. After a successful spring season, we were looking to move up to Preliminary. We completed a couple of combined tests at the Preliminary level over the summer, but had not been to a recognized event since May. Competing Modified at Five Points seemed like the best choice prior to making the leap into the Preliminary level.
Modified is its own unique division. The event organizers at CHP did an excellent job of following the standards set by USEA. As per the rules, the fences are set at 1.05 meters (1.0 meters for Training and 1.10 meters for Preliminary) and the cross country speed is 490 m/min (420-450 m/min for Training and 520 m/min for Preliminary). I had the opportunity to walk both the Preliminary and Modified cross country courses and felt that they were both a true technical representation of the level. The Modified course offered a greater challenge than a championship Training course, but was less difficult than the Preliminary course.
The Modified Experience
I could not have asked for a better experience in preparation for moving up to Preliminary. After a good dressage test, Milo had no jumping penalties and only added a little time on cross country for a 3rd place finish in our division. Although I was happy with our placing, the experience gave me both improved confidence and a good indication of what we needed to continue to focus on prior to our first Preliminary event. Milo is the first horse that I have brought up through the levels, and I would not be successful without the coaching of Mike Plumb. His guidance and expertise have been instrumental in our success.
Thank you Carolina Horse Park for offering the Modified division at Five Points H.T. I hope that more events will offer the division as a stepping stone between the Training and Preliminary levels.