Sometimes there are things that don’t appear in the British Eventing rule book that you need to know about in order to successfully enjoy your day out eventing. From start fees to start times, here we reveal the answers to the questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

Am I too old and is my horse too small?

You cannot be too old! You can however be too young, and those fortunate enough to be eventing at a young age need to be in at least the year of their 12th birthday. Your horse/pony needs to be at least 142cm (without shoes).

Start fee

Don’t forget it. When you arrive at the event, you will need to go and collect your paper number (which goes into a number bib that you will need to purchase before the event) from the secretary’s tent. In order to get your number, you will need to pay a pre-determined start fee (the amount due can be found in the schedule). Most event organisers will accept cash or cheque, but take both just in case. You will also need to have your horse’s passport and history of vaccinations in the horsebox in case the secretary asks to see them.

Hat tagging

Along with all of the other things you need to remember to take eventing, don’t forget to allow yourself extra time upon arrival to get your hat checked and tagged in the secretary’s tent (this can be done at the same time you pay your start fee). Your hat is tagged with a certain colour of tape if it meets the correct standards. You cannot compete until your hat has been tagged.

Start times

You will always do your dressage test at your start time. However, the showjumping and cross-country phases usually run in a first-come, first-served manner whereby you put your number on the board and then go when it is your turn gets to you which means you can sometimes avoid waiting hours until your pre-specified start time. This works as long as the class that is currently jumping is your class. Do check before you get on your horse that the collecting ring stewards are using this system as a select few events run strictly by start times only. You won’t get eliminated for going before your time. 


Check all of the rules before you leave to compete. For example, you aren’t allowed to take a whip into the dressage. You can’t go cross-country without an up-to-standard body protector. Air jackets aren’t compulsory. Gloves are only compulsory in the dressage. You don’t need to wear a medical armband on the cross-country. BE advises that a rider should wear an armband with a special BE medical card if they have a condition that may impact on their care in the case of an emergency.

Ask questions

If you are unsure of something, ask someone! The eventing community is a very friendly place and most people are only too willing to help.

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