So you're thinking of trying affiliated showjumping?
The decision to 'go affiliated' can seem like a big one - but it needn't be.
If you are already competing unaffiliated, you will already have a good idea what showjumping is all about.
Going affiliated simply gives you access to thousands of competitions that carry a guarantee of what you can expect from the courses, organisers, officials and venues. In addition, it opens up the door to a clear competition and training structure that is able to take you just as high as you want to go. From grass roots to the next Olympics, going affiliated gives you the chance to achieve your goals.
Read about what going affiliated is like in the REAL LIFE story of one rider at the bottom of this page...
What’s the difference between unaffiliated and affiliated showjumping?
Unaffiliated showjumping competitions can be run by anyone while affiliated showjumping competitions must be run following the guidelines set down by British Showjumping, the governing body of the sport.
This means that affiliated competitions must be overseen by trained officials and be of a certain standard – that’s the arenas, parking, medical and safety provisions, and the general running of the event, not the level of rider allowed to compete.
Riders of all levels are welcome at affiliated events and there is a range of classes to choose from, starting from 70cm (2ft 3in) with a clear structure for progression if you are keen to rise up the ranks.
What are the benefits of competing in affiliated showjumping?
Because the affiliated competitions are governed by British Showjumping, you can be assured that they will be of a consistent and guaranteed standard. There’s nothing worse than having paid your entry fee and spent all that time and effort preparing for a competition, only to be disappointed or frustrated because of the facilities or the way it is run.
British Showjumping affiliated competitions take place only at approved venues ensuring that the jumping arenas and warm up areas always have a reasonable surface and are of a suitable size.
You can be assured of the course quality and design wherever you chose to compete and at every level of class. This is because affiliated competitions can only run over courses designed and built by trained British Showjumping course builders. Under affiliated rules there are also stringent guidelines about course safety, such as insisting all fences are of specific construction quality and that safety cups are used as standard on spread fences.
Affiliated competitions will also be judged consistently as they are required to use British Showjumping judges who have each undergone the same training. There is also a set prize structure.
But should something go wrong, with an affiliated competition there are people and procedures in place to deal with any problems
In addition to your personal benefits, choosing to go affiliated also benefits the sport of showjumping itself. British Showjumping underpins the sport by providing the structure for competition and progression right from beginners to Olympic level. It also works hard to constantly improve safety and ensures quality training is available to all. By choosing to go affiliated, you are supporting showjumping as a whole.
Isn’t affiliated showjumping harder than unaffiliated?
No. Affiliated showjumping classes start from 70cm (2ft 3in), comparable to many unaffiliated classes. The difference is the guarantee of course quality, consistency in how the competitions judged, the facilities you can expect at events and the support available to you.
If you are just starting out in showjumping, why not try an Intro class? These start from 70cm (2ft 3in), with classes also for 80cm, 90cm and 1m, split into Junior and Senior sections for each height. If you enjoy your first class, you can compete regularly at this level to gain points for your Regional League.
If you are looking at competing at a higher level, you can try our British Novice, Discovery, Newcomers and Foxhunter classes.
To find out more about the different classes that are available and where and when shows are taking place, please contact the Show department on Tel. 02476 698800
How do I ‘go affiliated’?
To ride in affiliated showjumping competitions you need to become a member of British Showjumping (BS) and also register your horse. There are several different types of membership available, including Full Membership which entitles you to compete for 12 months and costs £124. There is also a new six-month Full Membership package which includes yourself and one horse for just £110 (horses must have winnings of less than £999).
To register yourself and your horse, complete a Membership form and Horse Registration form and pop it in the post. You will also need to send proof of identity, such as your horse's passport. For help contact Membership on Tel: 0247 669 8800.
Having become a member you will be entitled to ride in affiliated classes and choose from more than 4,350 competition days organised by British Showjumping each year. These are advertised on the British Showjumping website and in the British Showjumping magazine which you will receive every two months. You will also be sent a British Showjumping rule book and get free personal liability insurance up to £30 million for all private equestrian activities (some restrictions apply).
Can I try an affiliated showjumping competition before deciding to ‘go affiliated’ properly?
Yes. You can enter an affiliated showjumping class on a ‘Ticket to Ride’. Firstly, choose the affiliated class you would like to ride in. Then contact the show secretary to make your entry – at the same time explain you wish to ride on a Ticket and this will be arranged for you. A Ticket costs £6 and will cover you and your horse, however, when riding on a Ticket you will not be entitled to prize money or points. You can use as many Tickets to Ride in a year as you wish.
I’m keen to do more showjumping training- what can ‘going affiliated’ offer me?
Going affiliated will give you access to a wide range of training both in the saddle and in other horse-related areas – whatever level you are at. You will find regional training sessions with accredited trainers plus progressive national training schemes such as the Junior Academy and Five Star Award Programme.
For more information about the Training which is available to you, please contact the training department on Tel. 0247 669 8828.
REAL LIFE: Jenny goes affiliated to follow her dreams
Jenny Kelly (16) from Cheshire had always wanted to go affiliated with her 16.3hh Irish Sports horse Niamh. Unschooled and ‘nutty’ when she bought her, Jenny has reschooled the mare and overcome injury problems, to uncover a talent for showjumping and a turn of speed against the clock. With success at unaffiliated events and Jenny’s ambition to make horses her career, stepping up to ride ‘under rules’ seemed the obvious route.
Since joining British Showjumping in August 2010 the pair haven’t looked back. “The shows are so well-organised,” enthuses Jenny. “The courses are really well built, with proper related distances, and lovely to ride. It’s also great to know that any points we win are what I have achieved with Niamh.”
Jenny was fairly confident about what to expect at affiliated events having supported friends in pony classes, but there was one surprise. “I knew the events were more structured and professional but the people I was up against in the horse classes came as a shock. While everyone was really helpful and friendly, I found myself up against some quite big names. It was really good though to watch them, even in the warm up, to see what they did.”
So would Jenny recommend going affiliated? “Definitely,” she says. “It’s great experience for you and your horse, and there is plenty to work towards. It is more expensive, but it’s worth it – you definitely get what you pay for – and you stand a chance of winning your money back!”