A number of new proposals are under consideration following a comprehensive grading review process which began a number of years ago. Whilst the current grading system ensures that members are not asked, in competition, to do anything which is above or below their level of expertise, it can be a bit restrictive. The new grading system and competition structure aims to give members a greater choice of competitions in which to compete. This will allow members to compete in competitions at a higher level than that at which they are graded, and also at a lower level where competition organisers choose to run the relevant classes. There were a number of questions raised by members and we’ll answer them as best we can here. The names of the grades are changing but for the purposes of explaining things we’ll use the current names that we all know.
What hope have lower grade riders if the higher graded people can compete at the lower grades classes? Shows will hold the usual grade classes, which are open to riders of that grade and also to riders of the grade below but NOT to riders of higher grades. Show organisers can choose to run “open” classes at each height which would be open to riders of higher grades. These open classes are competitions in their own right and will carry the same range of prizes as the usual grade classes. For example: the Intermediate class can be entered by both intermediate and advanced primary riders. The Open Intermediate class is open to advanced intermediate, open and advanced open riders. An Open Primary class is open to everyone from AP right up to AO riders.
Why would anyone bother upgrading if they can already compete at the higher level? You will can only compete at a higher grade level at club and regional level, so if you want to compete at a national competition you will be restricted to your own grade. Also if you are placed 5 times at the higher grade within any 12 month period you MUST upgrade.
What about Primary riders? Everyone else has the chance to compete at a lower grade but there’s nothing lower for the Primary riders to try? A new class called Newcomers is being introduced in showjumping and dressage and only primary and advanced primary riders may enter it. Again this class will only be run at club and regional level.
Joe Soap is out competing at Eventing Ireland 90 classes, and then gets away with jumping AP at our club competitions. How is that fair? Members who compete at Unaffiliated competitions ( that’s SJI, EI or DI competitions) MUST upgrade if they compete 5 or more times at a higher level than their current AIRC grade, regardless of their placing. If they compete just once 2 levels higher than their current AIRC grade they will be compulsory upgraded.
What about the Young Horse and Green Horse classes? There will no longer be young horse, green horse or sportsmans classes. The availability of the “open” classes will cater for riders wishing to introduce young or novice horses at a low level.
To watch the webinar presented by HQ please follow the link below: It provides very clear information on the proposed changes, including guidelines on what is required of both the club and regional grading officer.