June 24, 2016

Dressage – go affiliated!

It may seem daunting to take the leap into affiliated competition, but there are plenty of benefits to doing so. Let’s Talk Horses looks at the latest introductory schemes on offer and provides some very good reasons to try affiliated.

Treading the boards

These are exciting times for British Dressage. With the 2016 Olympics just around the corner and the continued success of British riders, the sport has enjoyed greater exposure than ever, and a surge in popularity at all levels. Dressage has so much to offer, whatever the rider’s experience. Whether it’s the entry-level tests performed in the basic paces, or the intricacies of the more advanced, the aim and reward is the same – having a happy, harmonious partnership with your horse or pony. ‘BD’ provides a framework to help riders achieve this and reach their goals, and is constantly evolving to offer more opportunities for more people.

The decision to ‘go affiliated’ can seem like a big one – but it needn’t be!
Going affiliated gives you access to thousands of competition days that guarantee what you can expect from the organisers, judges and venue. It provides a clear competition and training structure that can take you as high as you want, whatever your ambition, and access to the wealth of training clinics, demos and camps run by BD in association with a range of dressage experts.

What’s the difference between unaffiliated and affiliated dressage?
Unaffiliated dressage competitions can be run by anyone while affiliated must be run in accordance with the guidelines set down by British Dressage. BD affiliated competitions must be judged by trained judges and be of a certain standard – that’s the arenas, parking, medical and safety provisions, general timekeeping and running of the event, not the level of rider allowed to compete.

Isn’t affiliated dressage harder that unaffiliated?
No. If you have been riding dressage tests at unaffiliated shows, the tests will be the same at affiliated events. The difference is the guarantee of consistency in how your tests are judged, the facilities you can expect at events and the support that is available to you.

Can I try an affiliated competition before joining BD?
Yes. Anyone is welcome to enter Introductory level tests or the Open section of Preliminary classes held at affiliated competitions without paying for registration. You should register yourself and your horse as an associate which is free before taking part.
Alternatively you can buy a Class Ticket for £8 which entitles you to enter one affiliated class, at any level, without being registered.

With the above exceptions, to ride in affiliated competitions you and your horse need to be registered with BD. Full membership which entitles you to compete for 12 months costs from £80 and horse registration is £75. You can join online or fill out the membership/horse registration form and pop it in the post. For more info, please contact the BD membership department on 02476 698832/836 or visit www.britishdressage.co.uk

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