Fixtures and Balloting FAQs
With the very successful restart of eventing earlier this month, this has brought challenges in relation to fixtures planning. Demand is high, and additional days are being added where we can do so.
What are BE doing to address demand?
We keep the level of entries at each competition under review. Where demand is high, and the organiser is happy to do so, we will look to add additional days.
Where this happens, we need to consult with other organisers who may be impacted by the change. The ‘background’ section below explains the normal process for agreeing fixtures. At the current time, we prepare a Fixtures Change Proposal (FCP) and speak to each of the potentially impacted organisers. Where no objections are received to the addition of days, we can add at that point. Where there are objections, the decision is referred to the ‘Fixture Panel’. The Fixtures Panel consider the request, the objections raised and make a decision on whether or not the days should be added.
Why do we need additional days?
Under our COVID-19 protocols, events are restricted to running a maximum of 258 competitors on each day of competition. This is to ensure we can keep the events running safely and within government guidance.
Demand for entries has been as high as we have ever seen it, and without the addition of extra days, many more riders would be balloted.
How does balloting work?
The balloting process is covered in the Rules and Members Handbook and we have included regular communications about balloting in member and fixture updates.
The rules mean that the higher-level classes (Intermediate and Advanced) take priority in a ballot situation, due to less competition opportunities at those levels. We are aware that there are many grassroots riders who have been repeatedly balloted, which is not an experience we want for our members.
The addition of extra days has been to help address this in many cases.
Why is it such short notice?
We have updated our ‘additional days protocol’ over the last few days, which is being set out to all organisers today (29 July 2020). However, the usual process is that additional days are only considered at ballot date. This means that there is likely to be less impact on those events in surrounding weeks, as the members have already chosen where they want to run.
The shortened timescales as a result of the restart of the calendar has added additional pressure to this, meaning that the work to add days, and then to move riders around, has been taking place in a much reduced timescale – and much closer to the event.
We know that this can cause difficulties for riders in relation to planning help on event, childcare, work etc..
What is BE going to do?
The additional days protocol allows us to add days prior to ballot date if there is a requirement to do so. We are starting conversations with potentially impacted organisers earlier, which means objections are also known sooner.
Where an objection is made, this is passed to the Fixture Panel (see background below for more information) for a final decision. Bringing this process forward will help.
We are also looking at moving back towards the more normal timeframes for entries opening and ballot dates.
We have also removed the system validation for a maximum of five entries on each day of competition. This means that riders can now enter as many horses as they wish so that we can accurately assess demand for each event. The rule remains in place regarding riding a maximum of five cross country rides on any one day.
How are the classes decided for different days?
We look at the number of entries at each level and determine where there is a need for further classes. We have discussions with the organiser to determine how the demand can be met best, and the entries secretary will also consider multiple riders and which classes they have entered on each of the existing days.
It is usually not as efficient to have three class changes in a day due to timetabling constraints, particularly with the restrictions in the number of riders in a day at 258. This will also be taken into account in determining the overall timetable with any additional days.
Inevitably, most events will have to add additional days on a weekday.
We continue to work hard to provide members with the opportunities they would like to compete.
Background – normal fixtures planning
The fixtures calendar work usually starts a year ahead. The Regional Coordinators work together to create the first draft of the calendar, based on where events in their regions have historically run and where they know there needs to be changes, but also considering any other large events in the calendar. For example, Badminton’s dates impacted by the BBC’s scheduling for TV coverage. We also ‘added’ a week to the 2020 calendar to allow for the Junior and Young Rider European Championships at Hartpury. They also consider the pathways riders may need to take to obtain MERs and gain qualification to progress.
Once the first draft is complete, it is sent to all organisers. Organisers can then request changes in dates and classes, or raise objections, if they wish.
This information is collated by the Regional Coordinators and discussed at the RC meetings. Where required, a Fixtures Change Proposal (FCP) is prepared. This considers which other events may be impacted by a change. The consultation distances are set per class level – so the addition of a BE90 class would have a smaller consultation zone than an advanced class. This is due to the number of competitors at each level.
Where there are objections, these are brought back to the RC meeting and discussed further. If there is not resolution, the matter is referred to the Fixture Panel.