One of the most often asked questions is, “when are a horse and/or rider ready to move up to the next level?”
Obviously it is slightly different if the rider has ridden at higher levels before. They are unlikely to be worried about the step-up, since they are not entering uncharted territory.
For me, it’s when a horse has had enough runs at a given level to make it all feel very easy, without a single anxious moment, around the whole XC course in particular, for at least 2 consecutive runs. Even the slightest ‘eek’ moment or wobble would make me think we needed to do more at the level we were at.
Mary King: ” The horse is going consistently well at a level and feels totally confident at that level. It is not tied to the number of BE points (it has won).”
Owen Moore: “You should feel that the level has become easy. You should be getting clear after clear. You should feel that the horse is capable of winning consistently at that level.”
Piggy French: “The horse should be very very confident at that level. You should feel completely in control of the situation at that level. You should liaise with your trainer and helpers. It is better to wait a little and be sure rather than go up too soon.”
Lucinda Green: “It is when the horse gets bored at that level, what was a challenge last year is no longer a challenge. The horse will tell you when he is ready.”
Photos of the Grassroots Championships, by Katie Mortimore.