How Do You Enter Novice Riding Competitions?
As someone who has never competed (other than in competitions within a riding school) how would I go about entering novice competitions? I don't have my own horse but aside from that where are the events listed and how much experience do you need to have etc?
How you would enter a novice competition does depend on which equestrian sport you have chosen to compete in. For example, showjumping may differ to dressage. However, most of the sports do have similar set-ups so it is possible to draw comparisons between them.
Most equestrian sports will offer an amateur competition. The key thing when thinking about entering a bottom tier competition is to find out whether membership of the sport's governing body is required. It usually will be and it will also usually be necessary to register the horse. From there, most sports will hold open-ended bottom level competitions, with no maximum number of entrants. It is once you have started to win some of these competitions that you will be eligible to compete in higher level contests. The novice competitions are intended as a way of drawing more people into the sport and uncovering talent, so entry into them is made as simple and easy as possible for anyone who is a competent rider.
Most events are listed on the websites of the individual sport's governing body and a lot of them are also available to look at on the British Horse Society website as well, which looks after riding schools across the country. This can be found at bhs.org.uk. There are events nationwide, so no-one can feel excluded, wherever they live in the UK.
Experience is something your riding teacher should be able to advise on. To compete, even at novice levels, a rider needs to be both mentally and physically ready for the challenge. If they are not, then the danger of injury or of scaring oneself too much to ever get back on a horse is great.
With regards to not having a horse, the British Horse Society does offer a specialist competition for young riders who are not horse owners to compete in. It is called The Equitation Competition and regional qualifiers are held all around the country to give everyone the chance to take part. It is available for riders up to the age of 17. Details of this too are on the British Horse Society website.