The USEA is proposing a new unrecognized division called Beginner Novice – Assistance Allowed (BN-AA), designed for “competitors who are not quite ready to ride in a Horse Trials independently or those who have lost confidence due to elimination in previous Events.”
Under the guidelines for this BN-AA division, the rider’s coach would be allowed to verbally assist during any phase, such as reading a dressage test or providing verbal cues related to “the direction of course or anything necessary to ensure safety” during the jumping phases.
Riders would also have the option to bypass a jump on cross country and are allowed more refusals at obstacles without facing elimination. Aside from a fall of horse or rider or dangerous riding, “rider eliminations are to be avoided to ensure that these riders have as positive and educational an experience as possible.”
“In addition to introducing riders to the Eventing world, we hope that the BN-AA will help retain these riders who have bad experiences and provide them positive, educational experiences while Eventing,” Laura Powell, USEA Membership Committee co-chair, explains. “The desired outcome is that these competitors will eventually become competent, confident competitors in recognized Events and ultimately become members of the USEA.”
The BN-AA division will be “test run” at competitions during the 2016 season, with the USEA Membership Committee reviewing the results. You can read the full proposal here.
“There will no doubt be detractors who feel this goes against the heart of Eventing to allow such assistance during a competition,” Laura says,” but if this verbal assistance is all that is needed to give new, young or disheartened riders the positive experience and confidence to come back and attempt a recognized Beginner Novice division, then it is well worth the effort.”
The proposal will be discussed at the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention in Washington, D.C., next month. What do you think of the proposed Beginner Novice – Assistance Allowed division? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below.