New BE Science Supplements Area Festivals launching in 2021
British Eventing in partnership with Science Supplements® is delighted to announce the introduction of Area Festivals to the BE calendar. Running at BE80(T), BE90 and BE100 level, Area Festivals will provide grassroots riders with an exciting new competition opportunity and goal.
The Science Supplements Area Festivals will include new-look BE80(T), BE90 and BE100 Area Qualifiers replacing existing Regional Finals, and new Area Championship classes at BE80(T), BE80(T) Open, BE90, BE90 Open, BE100 and BE100 Open providing an additional aim for grassroots riders.
In 2021, the Area Festivals will be held at four prestigious locations across the country and will be run as standalone events with Championship technicality courses and international size dressage arenas.
Science Supplements Area Festivals, host to the Area Championships and Area Qualifiers
Following member feedback, collaboration with the Rider Working Group 80-105 and in conjunction with ERA of GB, the Science Supplements Area Festivals will provide additional Championship opportunities plus, the chance to compete at prestigious venues with an exciting competition atmosphere.
In 2021, Area Festivals will be hosted in four locations across the country and will include a new Area Championship at BE80(T), BE80(T) Open, BE90, BE90 Open, BE100 and BE100 Open as well as the Area Qualifier route at each level (previously via Regional Finals). The Area Qualifiers will bring together riders challenging for the BE90 and BE100 Championship at Badminton and the BE80(T) Championship, supported by Science Supplements and KBIS British Equestrian Insurance.
In addition to qualifying at the Area Festivals, competitors can qualify directly for BE90 and BE100 Championships at both the Scottish Grassroots Championships, held at Blair Castle, and the BE90 and BE100 Three Day Event at Bicton Arena, Devon.
Science Supplements Area Festival Venues 2021
Following a tender process which saw 14 events apply to host an Area Festival, we are delighted to announce that the venues hosting Area Festivals from 2021 will be:
- Firle Place, Sussex (15-16 May)
- Frickley Park, South Yorkshire (19-20 June)
- Chillington Hall, Staffordshire/Shropshire border (26-27 June)
- Northern/Scottish region Area Festival venue – to be announced soon*
Launching in 2021, we hope that this new series is a huge success and that it can continue to grow in 2022 and beyond.
Jude Matthews, BE CEO, commented; “This is such an exciting development for the sport and one which we hope will provide more of our members with an inspiring goal. I would like to extend my thanks to Science Supplements for their support of this new grassroots eventing initiative. As well as providing an exciting new competition opportunity for grassroots riders in the creation of Area Championships, the inclusion of the Area Qualifiers at the Area Festivals enables us to make these classes closer to the challenge that will be faced at the finals and create a bigger atmosphere for this stage of the qualification route.
“We have worked with the BE80 – 105 Rider Working Group to take feedback and adapt our concept. Key feedback from our members has been that they would like more Championship opportunities and for us to reward those who achieve consistent double-clears. We have also listened to feedback to provide Area Championship opportunities for those who are not eligible for the more restricted BE90 and BE100 Championship and BE80(T) Championships route by including Open sections”.
David Mitson, Group CEO of Science Supplements said “We are delighted to be extending our relationship with British Eventing and supporting grassroots riders. The Science Supplements Area Festivals will provide further opportunity to showcase the range of talent amongst grassroots riders and give more members a championship to aim for.”
How do I qualify for an Area Festival?
Combinations will have the opportunity to qualify for Area Championships and Area Qualifiers held at the Science Supplements Area Festivals in the following ways:
Eligible combinations can qualify to compete for the title of the BE80(T), BE80(T) Open, BE90, BE90 Open, BE100 and BE100 Open Area Champion in two ways:
- By achieving two double-clears between 1st July 2019 and 02 May 2021 or
- By being placed in the top percentage of a normal BE80(T), BE90, BE90 Open, BE100 or BE100 Open class.
The percentage to qualify and the timescales for qualification for the Area Championships will be outlined in the 2021 BE Members’ Handbook, released in 2021.
In line with the previous Regional Final qualifications, the top percentage of eligible combinations placed at BE80(T), BE90 and BE100 events will qualify to compete at Area Qualifiers. The top percentage of combinations then placed at the Area Qualifiers will go on to compete at the BE90 and BE100 Championship held at Badminton and the BE80(T) Championship.
Those combinations that currently hold a Regional Final qualification, will automatically be eligible to enter an Area Qualifier in 2021.
The percentage to qualify and the timescales for qualification for the Area Qualifiers will be outlined in the 2021 BE Members’ Handbook, released in early 2021.
Who is eligible to compete at the Area Festivals?**
- For BE80(T), BE90 and BE100 Area Championship and Area Qualifier classes horses must be Grade 4 at Ballot Date of the Area Festival.
- BE80(T) Open, BE90 Open and BE100 Open Area Championship classes are accessible to any grade of horse.
- Each horse and rider must be eligible to ride at the relevant class on the date of Area Festival.
- Horses must be ridden by the same rider throughout the qualifying process.
- Except for Open Classes, riders must not have competed at Intermediate or higher for the current or preceding 5 seasons
- Riders must have never competed at 5* level.
What is the new BE80(T) Open class?
The Area Championship at BE80(T) Open is an exciting new competition opportunity and goal for riders competing at BE80(T) level who are not currently eligible to qualify for the BE80(T) Championship. Eligible riders competing horses with grading points, and eligible BE80(T) combinations with more than 25 Foundation Points will be able to qualify for the BE80(T) Open Area Championship classes.
Are BE introducing BE80(T) Open classes to the fixtures list?
BE are not currently adding BE80(T) Open classes to the fixtures calendar and this will remain under review. Combinations aiming for the BE80(T) Open Area Championships can gain their two double clears by competing in any BE80(T) class. If riding a horse with grading points, combinations can compete HC and their double clears will still count towards qualification.
Does this mean less people will qualify for the BE90 and BE100 Championship at Badminton?
No – the number of competitors that Badminton can host at the Championships has not reduced.
Can I compete in more than one Area Festival?
Yes, if qualified, combinations can choose to travel to more than one Area Festival.
Why have Area Qualifiers been incorporated into the Area Festivals?
Including Area Qualifiers at the Area Festivals enables us to create a true Championship feel as well as present courses with increased technicality. This will help to prepare combinations for the test they expect to encounter at the National Championships.
How were the Area Festival venues decided?
Organisers were invited to submit applications to host an Area Festival. Fourteen applications were put forward and then assessed by a Venue Assessment Panel (VAP) comprising a member of the Rider Working Group 80-105 level, a BE Technical Adviser and BE Steward. Following the initial assessment, the decision to allocate the Area Festivals was agreed by a Stakeholder Panel. The Stakeholder Panel was made up of an independent chair, a BEOA Representative and a Grassroots rider representative.
*Area Festival venue for the Northern and Scottish region to be announced soon. Sadly, the venue due to host in this region advised this week that they are unable to proceed and the process to find a replacement venue is currently under way
**Full details will be outlined in the 2021 BE Members’ Handbook, released in early 2021.
The full 2021 BE Fixtures list will be released very soon.