Everything Else Everything else More... Tip of the day

Tip of the Day: How to Keep an Entries Secretary Happy (and probably get what you want!)

Screen shot 2015-02-03 at 18.20.01A little while ago I attended a BE Workshop re: the entire Entries/Withdrawals/Substitutions/Refunds topic.

With the season starting, I hope that the following general info might help Riders to make Entries Secretaries’ lives easier in future.

I hope Riders realise that Entries Secretaries really do try very hard to keep their ‘customers’ happy. One even takes the time to work out the distance between the event and where every single entered horse is kept, to work out times as helpfully as possible. (The postcode where the horse is kept is in its details on the BE database. Is yours up to date?!) So, if at all possible, a horse stabled 3 hours’ drive away won’t be given an 8am dressage at this particular event!

One little annoyance for Entries Secs is riders who live (and keep their horses) very close to an event, but still request late times. Someone has to go early, and it’s just not fair if it’s always the same (often multiple) riders. Very local riders should be able to walk the XC course the day before, hopefully, as well as having a short journey, making very early times more reasonable.

If you want certain times, e.g. late or early, and have a valid reason for it, please explain why, in the Special Requests section. They will try to accommodate you if they possibly can.

Apparently loads of people try to get their entry in during literally the last 1/2 hour before the noon Ballot cut-off time, find they can’t get through on the website, and call the Entries Sec in a panic. Obviously, this becomes a headache.

Although I’ve never rung the Entries Sec in a panic, I’ll admit I’ve been part of that “eek, forgot to enter, enter in the last 1/2 hour’ group. So, my new resolution is to fill my diary with ‘day before Ballot’ Dates, so I can enter on the day before the Ballot at the very very latest.

Event Secretaries sometimes have a problem with Rider Contact Details and Emergency Contact Details not being kept up to date.
 This can create a total nightmare when trying to contact riders or associates by phone, text or by email.

PLEASE make sure you give your current email address (one that works, and you check!) and mobile phone number on entry forms
PLEASE make sure emergency details are up to date too.

(Someone had a very bad fall at an event last year and somehow both of their emergency contact areas were blank. Eeek. An unnecessary nightmare situation.)

Waitlists, Withdrawals and Refunds.
Some of this was news to me. It’s worth reading, it makes some of the decisions make a lot more sense.
There are grey areas, even on a totally ‘transparent’ Waitlist. For instance, when selecting an entry from the Waitlist – it will NOT always automatically be the top one – e.g. that one might be a multiple rider, whose times with their other horses won’t work with the times of the newly available space. So, in such a case, it could go to the next person down.

Not all events want a day with the full amount of possible runners!

Some events want those withdrawn spaces to be left, to allow a bit of breathing space if there are holds on the XC.
If the forecast is very bad, they will no longer take entries off the Waitlist, to protect the ground for those who entered early and are already in.
So, just because you have to withdraw close to the event, they may not want to fill your space, and they may have very good reasons for not doing so. 
Advertising the space on Social Media first is never a good idea. Please, always ask the Entries Secretary first.

Not withdrawing (even though you know you aren’t going to go and run) in case the event has to cancel/abandon is an utterly crazy thing to do. I was told that if it is cancelled/abandoned everyone gets refunded. So, if you aren’t going to run, please withdraw, by letting the Entries Secretary know… because someone else might be desperate for the run, on the Waitlist, and want that space!

Some Entries Secretaries ALWAYS refund if a place is filled. However, bear in mind that it is the Event Organiser who makes these decisions, so please don’t have a go at the Entries Secretary if you feel you deserve a refund but you aren’t getting any joy.
Check the BE Omnibus for individual Events’ policies. They vary. (Vote with your feet, by choosing where you enter based on their refund policies, if you want fairer treatment!)

Please put in special requests if you are travelling with another competitor, and… please name them! Do not do as 1 person did and put the stable name of the other rider’s horse. Not exactly helpful… Entries Secretaries are not psychic…!
Ditto, please don’t just put the registration plate of the other competitor’s lorry… that’s not an easy one for the Entries Sec to work out either. 😉

Please check your qualifications and the qualifying criteria for a class.  For instance, don’t try to enter direct for the Grassroots Championships! (Yes, this has happened. Apparently more than once. People didn’t notice the whole ‘you need to qualify for a Regional Final and THEN qualify from there’ process, almost unbelievably.)

Something that stuck in my mind: “5% of riders cause 95% of the problems“. I’m going to do my best this season not to be one of that annoying 5% who make things more difficult!

That’s about it. I hope this makes a few things clearer and might make things run more smoothly for you this season. Happy Eventing.

About the author



  • It might also be worth mentioning please be nice to everyone on the day.

    I have been working at events where some of the riders are incredibly rude and obnoxious. (Mainly the amateurs, the pros I’ve dealt with have generally been good.)

  • Agreed, vicky. I didn’t think to put that because it should of course be common courtesy, but obviously isnt! 🙁 🙁 🙁

  • Great article- particularly regarding having valid reasons for requests (and being polite, it’s a request, not a demand!) and not expecting psychic powers! I take RC event entries and there are definitely offenders on both those fronts for most events. I try my best to please everyone (not that it seems that is conveyed sometimes!) but there’s only so much you can do to try keep everyone happy whilst making groups/times to fit the schedule and available resources of time and arena space.

    It’s the same as most roles- if more folk were to have experience of the things they complain about (setting DR times, manning the XC warm up etc), they would see it’s not always as easy as it looks and have a little more patience/sympathy for those giving up time to do it for them the rest of the time.