One of the hottest topics in between course designers on the highest level in eventing seem to be the one of riders actually being qualified to take on the questions they set out for them or not.
Regardless what riders believe about their own level of skills some of them really don't belong at the highest level of the sport.
However, on a lower level of international sport we have a complete other set of problems.
On this level it seems a lot of riders completely have misunderstood the whole idea of the qualification system.
Qualification - a condition that must be fulfilled before a right can be acquired; an official requirement.
Looking at the international season openings from some of the riders from my region. It makes it painfully clear something has gone real bad in regards to either education. Or once again, common sense flew out the window.
Are you really qualified?
Cause the MER you get in an event is indeed a receipt that you on that day had the capability to finish all three phases according to the minimum standards set by the regulations.
Qualified - officially recognised as being trained to perform a particular task
Standards set to determine if a combination is allowed to go to the next level, or not. But the true key word in the whole concept of the MER is Minimum.
Minimum as in Minimum Eligibility Requirement. So even if you do come home with a MER in the pocket. It does not automatically mean you are qualified, and or even have the skills, to head on to the next level. You just have an official qualification to do so.
Cause eventing is more than just the MER. Just like anything else in life it's also about experience.
Experience to read and take on the level of questions presented to you in cross country.
So heading out in your very first CCI2*-event ever and making a MER doesn’t automatically mean you are ready to go CCI3* at your next outing!
First of all it’s the thing called mental development and that goes both for horse and rider. Second of all you also need to evaluate your ride.
Was I competitive in dressage?
If you ended up with a 44.9 penalty in dressage you did not do good. But either you had a shitty day which actually happens to all of us. Even the Michael Jung's of the world!
But it could also point to the fact you're just not good enough. Maybe you need to go home and practise a little bit more and come up with a new plan.
You also need to set up a target goal on where you'd like to be at your next event, the event after that and so on. Last but not least. Actually reading the score sheet can sometimes be very helpful in the process of getting better.
Did I make the time in the cross country?
Was I even safe in the cross country?
If you end up with 30 penalties for time in cross country and you’re a top level rider you probably are out for a schooling round in one way or the other.
But for a first timer finishing way and beyond the optimum time but still in range for the MER. You're most likely still not ready for the next level!
For one the next level will not only make more difficult questions. It will also increase the speed of the cross country.
Which means that if you're already struggling and cannot make the time in a CCI1*-Intro. You for sure will be hopelessly behind in the CCI2*, and the level above that.
Or even worse..
As the inexperienced rider you are at this point you may actually just go for it. And BAM that's when accidents happens!
Did I jump a double clear in show jumping?
There are lot of riders out there who cannot seem to get it together on the final day of show jumping.
If you're on the edge of the MER mark you and your horse won't benefit of heading for the next level.
You need to figure out what went down and how to prevent it to happen again. Practise makes perfect.
You didn't get a MER?
It is not the end of the world..
Last but not least there are riders that wont' get a MER. In some cases the question is if they ever will?
And here's the thing.
If you come home from your very first international event without one there's probably not much to worry about.
But if you're already on your 5th international competition and you're still missing out on a qualifying result. It really is time to start asking yourself:
- Are you competing above your level?
- Do you know how to prepare you and your horse?
- Would you benefit off taking a step back?
- Why are you even competing international in the first place?
Asking and, even more importantly, answering these questions completely honest could be the key to your future progress in the sport.
🚀 What is your experience and or thoughts on this? Don't be shy, share your ideas, and let the ripple effect begin!
ps, don't forget to share this article with others that may be interested 🤗