2022 New Rules Proposed - MERs Required to Move Up

As much lurking as I do around here and on Facebook I cannot find anyone talking about the new rules proposed when it comes to moving up the levels. Which is kind of shocking to me. Maybe I am way off base but coming from an area that is in the middle of the country I am not sure how our riders will accomplish such feats. Much less keeping trainers in the area rather than forcing them to move to areas with more events. On top of that I worry about the well-being of the horses with this new proposed change.

It seems to follow the trend that eventing is getting more and more out of reach for the average person. What are your thoughts?

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I am talking about it on my FB page. Did you watch the video as well as read the article? Malcolm did talk about the challenges for the middle of the country. Part of me is trying to digest it. Yes, eventing above training is definitely out of reach for the average person, and has been for a while.

I did watch the video and read the rules fully. I think this is really putting the nail in the coffin so to speak when it comes to being out of reach.

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There is a conversation happening in the “priced out of the sport” thread but it should have its own place.

I’ll just repeat what I said there

Honestly I don’t think the rule is bad. From their data, they are seeing that you need that many runs together in that timeline to be experienced enough and safe enough to go Prelim. It isn’t that wild of an idea. Will it prevent some riders from going Prelim? Maybe, but if they want it that bad they will find a way to make it happen. The whole point is without that previous experience, data is showing you are at a higher risk of having a bad outcome.

We may as amateurs think we are capable and being pushed by friends and coaches to upgrade, but these guidelines will ensure those who are upgrading do in fact, have the miles required to be there.


Eventing has also changed tremendously. Training level now is not what it was even 5 years ago. Same or more so with Prelim.

I’m kind of flabbergasted that people are upset they need the experience and miles to go Prelim. If you can’t get to that many events in two years why is it such a huge deal you can’t event Prelim then? Eventing is a privilege. Want to go Prelim? Put the work in.

It also shows how out of touch some riders are thinking that 2 recognized events a year and some schooling events is enough to prepare you for Prelim. Sure maybe you are but that’s the exception not the norm.

I currently know of a few people planning on upgrading to Prelim that wouldn’t qualify now and that would be a freaking blessing because they are not even capable of getting around T level looking competent but the horse will jump anything so they feel they can upgrade. Them going Prelim is a disaster waiting to happen. This rule would prevent that for now.

We need to do something to prevent the falls and terrible unsafe riding that is happening out there. I can’t find anything negative about being over cautious or over prepared.


I think there are ways to get ready for prelim without showing a horse 10 times in two years. Just saying. However, I do agree that lots of riders are out of touch and honestly you’re right this is probably the most logical way to babysit people.


Exactly. Does it suck for riders who might be good enough to do it otherwise? Sure. But it sucks more having fatalities year after year and our sport getting a terrible image.


Yes. This was my comment from that thread (responding to someone who pointed out that these MERs must be achieved in a 24 month period):

This is the real kicker. I just don’t want to run my horse that much. We don’t go to Florida (hahahaha), my ego isn’t big enough to think every single run will be perfect, and I don’t want to run her more than 5-6 in a season (because a season is only 4 months - max 5 if we stretch it and the weather is perfect and my job gives me the right weekends off and and and). 10 Training/Modified MERs before we go Prelim? I think it’s excessive (I think more like 8 feels about right), but fine. Doing them in a 24 month period, and still having time to actually fit in the Prelim? Not likely. Everything would have to go perfectly… have I mentioned we ride horses??

I do understand there is a worry that someone will run 35 Trainings to get 10 MERs and then move up and be terrifying. Why can’t it be paired with a percentage? We all know this is based on Equiratings, so why not “10 Traning/Modified MERs as a combination (no time limit), with an XCJ10 of no less than 80%” or whatever. I don’t disagree with the “most recent MER within 6 weeks of upgrade” (I kind of thought that was just common sense), so it can all work in concert.

Also, if you want people to move up safely and have a good understanding of what they are up to, actually having Modifieds available on the calendar would be a great start. My area has two for the whole year. Running one last year (off the back of…6 Training runs? 5? Quite a few, anyway) was a perfect indication that we were not quite ready for Prelim. There was a separately numbered combination for the Modified that was right next to an A-B for the Prelim. We needed a circle in between, and we took it. Clear scorecard, but I went home thinking “I need to be more locked on with my eye before we go Prelim”. We went home, safe and sound, and did some homework. That was an important lesson that I wouldn’t have learned at Training, and I needed to learn before I take this mare Prelim, but try as I might there are only two Modified courses available to me for those learning purposes. I truly believe it would make riders safer to have more.


To me, the two biggest issues are that all 10 MERs have to be as a combination and the 24-month time limit.

10 MERs as a combination means you could have a solid Training record yourself and buy a horse with a solid Training record (or even a schoolmaster that already had experience at Prelim or above) but you would still have to do 10 more Trainings/Modified on that horse before you could move up. That just seems like excessive wear and tear on the horse. I wouldn’t be as opposed to 10 MERs total, if it were maybe 6 as a combination.

Similarly, the 24-month time limit doesn’t take into account the realities of amateurs with jobs that can’t always take time off or afford 5 horse trials in a year or the fact that horses sometimes do annoying things like getting an abscess the week before a competition. If the number is going to stay at 10, then I think a 36-month limit is more reasonable. You could require at least 3 to be in the last 12 months or something like that to make sure that they weren’t all 3 years ago.


It was clarified this wasn’t over a 24 month period by Sarah K Murphy on FB. Not sure if that’s accurate.

I think 8 would be a good middle ground. 6 doesn’t seem enough to me still.

I also fully support using something like an Equiratings rating.


Okay, thanks, I hadn’t heard that. But, looking at the text I see where the confusion probably came from. The Classic 3-day events do require the MERs to be within 24 months.

In that case, my issue is mainly with the number required as a combination.

Although I do think some other people have made good points that considering a percentage would also be useful so that you don’t have someone that takes 35 Training/Modifieds to get their MERs.


The “24 months” is in text which isn’t being changed

It appears it only applies to the “Classic Three-Day Events”.

What isn’t clear is the time frame for the MERS to move up to regular HT at Prelim and above.

For instance,if it takes 10 Training+ MERS to move up to Prelim for the first time, and it isn’t “24 months”, then what IS the time frame? 3 years? 5 years? 10 years?


I know of a local girl that went to only a handful of Training and P/T, then tried to go prelim, had a bad fall halfway through the course and ended up injuring herself and her horse, who hasn’t been able to compete at all since. I don’t compete anymore and never got near T or P, so my opinion isn’t particularly relevant, but I could see the benefits of 10 MERs over a period of a few years. 10 may be slightly excessive, maybe 7 or 8 would be more realistic as far as money spent and venues available, but it kind of seems like prelim is where the amount of time and money needed to even prep sufficiently is more than the average ammy rider could realistically do anyways. Though I do worry about riders with ample time and money running their horse into the ground going to events every weekend to try to get to prelim.


Replying to my own post.

I just listened to the video of Tuesday’s rules review meeting.
Twice Malcolm said that the MERs (10 for “Unlicensed Riders”) must happen within an 8 year rolling window. At another point he said the time frame was “entirely up to you”. The rule needs to make it clear.


The data is interesting. Definitely supports the rule change.



The revised version drops it from 10 to 8 MERs for an unlicensed rider to move up, and that you have 8 years to do it. It also changes the requirement for the most recent MER from 6 weeks to 8.


Those 2 changes make the rule change more obtainable imo. I’m glad they are looking at data and applying it while listening to the community.


I wish I knew more about how they came to this decision. For those areas that have fewer events and longer travel times, this makes even going Prelim feel out of reach. I would far more favour a flexible approach that also considers training and schooling as part of the necessary education of horse and rider. Far more valuable from an overall safety perspective, in my opinion.

I have always considered myself an Eventer as part of who I am. But these sort of one-size-tries to fit all “solutions” don’t sit right. If I’m priced out by mandatory qualifications that aren’t do-able I will head to the jumper shows that are happy to take my money.

And it will destroy the remaining events that offer(ed) Preliminary when there are not enough entries to run.


I have a serious problem with the as a combination part. I’ve competed for decades at Prelim on more than one horse, but I don’t want to have to do an additional 8 events on every new horse, including horses that have already done prelim or intermediate. I also have an older prelim mare I have leased to a couple of teens, and I think it will be an immense amount of wear and tear on experienced horses to have to do 8 more trainings and 8 more prelims with each new rider. It would make the sport much more elitist and exclusive, and put up and coming riders far behind riders in the UK and the EU, which do not have such an onerous rule.


Honestly the most attractive solution to safety issue is better training, better monitoring and maybe some sort of rider level or licensing system like they have in Europe.

But the work to make that happen seems to be too daunting for anyone to even want to consider.

I think the US is just too big to make it work for everyone. Too many places with no or little events, not enough levels, weather issues, etc.

Maybe a push for more education, and training would be helpful.

I think there is definitely room for improvement when you see these stats

The estimate of conditional probability of a fall given the new licenses yields:

  • Likelihood of a fall at Preliminary given rider is unlicensed =1/(4.6/100)/(55/100) = 1 in 39
  • Likelihood of a fall at Preliminary given rider is a B =1/(2/100)/(23/100) = 1 in 217
  • Likelihood of a fall at Preliminary given rider is an A =1/(1.3/100)/(22/100) = 1 in 349