USEF Covid-19 Rule Modification Extends Validity of Earned MERS from 12 to 18 Months

Confused about what level you’re now qualified to compete at, having missed the spring season?

The latest round of USEF rule modifications in response to COVID-19 includes a key one for eventing Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs): the extension of the validity of MERs already earned from 12 months to 18 months through the remainder of the 2020 competition season. 

The Presidential Modification, approved last week, allows horses that were qualified for a certain level prior to the suspension from competition to still compete at that level once competition resumes. If horses do not achieve another MER at that height level in 2020, they will have to drop back a level in 2021 to requalify before moving back up.

Essentially, horses that would have had their 12-month qualifier expire during the suspension can now still compete at the same level as originally intended for the spring.

Here is the modification, which starts at the bottom of page 17 on this document, in its entirety:

Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) – Eventing
USEF COVID-19 Rule Modifications – updated 5/21/20 18

Extends the validity of Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) already earned from twelve months to eighteen months.

EV105 – Loss of Qualifications
For certain levels of competition, horses and riders must meet qualifying requirements. Those requirements are detailed in Appendix 3. Loss of these requirements (qualifications) is outlined below and pertains to any combination of USEF and FEI Events.

1. ESTABLISHMENT OF QUALIFICATION. When a horse and/or rider obtains a Minimum Eligibility Requirement (MER) at a level, then they are “established” (qualified to compete) at that level. This “establishment” does not expire; however, it is important to remember that in all cases, when entering an Event at the CCI1* level or above, at least one MER must be obtained in the twelve eighteen month period prior to the competition.

APPENDIX 3 – PARTICIPATION IN HORSE TRIALS – (Eventing)

A competitor and/or a horse may be entered in a Horse Trial without having fulfilled the qualifications noted below, provided the qualifications have been fulfilled at least 10 days before the Cross-Country Test of the competition for which it is needed if the MER has been achieved at a Horse Trial or CCI-S or at least 24 days if the MER has been achieved at a CCI-L. For Preliminary and Training Classic Three-Day Events, qualifying competitions must be completed within a 24-month period of the start of the competition. At the CCI* level and above, at least one MER must be obtained in the twelve eighteen-month period prior to the competition. e.g. a horse and/or rider who have achieved a MER at a CCI4* level of competition and who have not competed for over twelve eighteen months must first achieve a MER at the next lowest height level

4. LEVELS OF INTERNATIONAL HORSE TRIALS AND EVENTS

4.1 UNCATEGORIZED RIDERS Listed below are the USEF requirements to compete in an FEI Competition. Additionally, all horses and riders must meet the minimum eligibility requirements (MER) published by the FEI which must be achieved by competitor and horse as a combination. Where FEI requirements refer to a “CCI” this may be satisfied by achieving an MER at a CCI-L or CCI-S of the level stated. When multiple MERs are required, one of the Minimum Eligibility Requirements can be achieved incurring 20 penalties at the obstacles of the Cross Country Test. All USEF requirements do not need to be achieved as a combination. At the CCI1* level and above, at least one MER must be obtained in the twelve eighteen-month period prior to the competition (e.g., a horse and/or rider who have achieved a MER at a CCI4* level of competition and who have not competed for over twelve eighteen months must first achieve a MER at the next lowest height level).

4.2 CATEGORIZED RIDERS Listed below are the USEF requirements to compete in an FEI Competition. Additionally, all horses and riders must meet the minimum eligibility requirements (MER) published by the FEI. When multiple Minimum Eligibility Requirements are required, one of the Minimum Eligibility Requirements can be achieved incurring 20 penalties at the obstacles of the Cross Country Test. All USEF requirements do not need to be achieved as a combination.

At the CCI1* level and above, at least one Qualifying Result must be obtained in the twelve eighteen-month period prior to the competition (e.g., a horse and/or rider who have achieved a QR at a CCI4* level of competition and who have not competed for over twelve eighteen months must first achieve a QR at the next lowest height level).

The above rules require U.S. Athletes, competing at the CCI1* level and above, to achieve one of the required Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) to compete within the twelve eighteen month period prior to the competition in question. This is a requirement in addition to those USEF COVID-19 Rule Modifications – updated 5/21/20 19 prescribed by the FEI; due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it will, in some cases, put U.S. Athletes, otherwise qualified and prepared to compete at a certain level, at a disadvantage.

The full listing of rule modifications related to COVID-19 impacts can be viewed by clicking here. Additional rule modifications continue to be reviewed and will be published when approved.

Visit the USEF Eventing Homepage and Eventing News & Updates for the latest COVID-19 updates. Visit the USEF General COVID-19 Resource Center and High Performance COVID-19 Resource Center​​ for the latest general updates. Visit the USEA COVID-19 Resources & Updates for important calendar updates, news and more. 

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