Like for Like or Mix & Match?


“Why, oh why is it not straight forward!” “Why isn’t it always the case: you qualify in a class and compete in exactly the same championship class?” “I’ve qualified in one class, but I want to change to a different championship – in what circumstances can I swap or not?”


We hear you and we really do sympathise, so here’s a go at explaining the reasons for flexibility ….. or not …. in the qualifying classes vs. championship classes:


If we didn’t allow any flexibility every class would qualify for exactly the same championship – so 60cm jumping qualification would only allow you to enter a 60cm championship; an Intro dressage would mean you are locked to an Intro championship; an in-hand Mountain & Moorland would mean an in-hand Mountain & Moorland championship. Sticking strictly to LIKE FOR LIKE be logical, easy to understand and to stick to, and in ALMOST EVERY CASE, that is how it works. But ……… there are a couple of reasons why we apply flexibility.


    Some riders will start the season competing at a lower level than they may be capable of nine months later at the time of the championship. So, if we lock people to their original qualification, they will compete in the championships at below their capability and create an unfair situation for others and a less fulfilling experience for them. For example: A young rider might start out in January, perhaps on a new pony at 40cm, but quickly progress to 60cm. Someone might take part in some have-a-go showing classes early in the season with your lovely young show horse, but once he’s settled at shows he’s capable of full format classes. Or they might be competing at Intro dressage but have progressed well and now you’re successful at Prelim. You get the idea! For this reason, we allow people to change up to a higher-level championship class.


    Showing classes at local shows may include various levels of competitor in one combined class, and the names of classes may not match. For example, a Show Hunter Pony class in a small show may include lead rein riders but if we force the competitor to stick to “Show Hunter Pony” because that’s the name of the class they qualified in, they will have to go in a full format showing class with a group canter and no lead rein. Eeek, not safe! Also, someone might have qualified for various showing classes and want to make a fantastic weekend of it, but one of their qualified classes clashes with another. So, we allow some flexibility to enter a similar class which fits with their timings. For these reasons we allow some flexibility to enter different showing championship classes to original qualification.



Just to clarify, here’s a couple of scenarios when we DO NOT allow flexibility:


    Qualification cannot be swapped for a lower-level championship class and qualification cannot be swapped to a different horse or competitor. It would not be fair to allow competitors to compete below their capability, or potentially change qualification to a different competitor or horse, it’s the efforts of that combination that have qualified and should contest their championship. In some cases, it may seem to be relevant to allow people to drop down a level or swap horse/rider (e.g. loss of confidence, horse/rider injured etc), but it’s impossible for us to be able to accurately assess these types of application for flexibility, so we have to turn them down. For these reasons, we do no allow flexibility to drop down a level or swap horse or competitor.


    Qualification cannot cover more than 3 levels of dressage or more than 20cm apart in jumping, or an unsuitable selection of showing classes. For example, you cannot compete in Intro and Prelim and Novice dressage, or 60cm and 1m jumping, or lead rein showing and full format showing. In all these examples, it would not be fair for a rider who was capable of Novice dressage / 1m jumping / full- format showing to also take part in the lowest level classes too. For this reason, we do not allow flexibility to take part in championship classes that are too far apart in terms of capability.


We hope that helps, if you have a question about your own qualification, please email info@sunshinetour.co.uk