The role of a technical adviser
A BE technical adviser (TA) is responsible for the technical safety, preparatory arrangements and successful running of the event. In practice, they will liaise closely with organisers, BE stewards, regional coordinators, officials, competitors and owners to ensure that events fully comply with the rules and guidelines on official BE events.
The role is on a contracted basis in relation to the number of events allocated. BE employs 18 technical advisers whose task it is to advise on and be involved in all the design and building stages of the cross country course at every BE event under BE rules.
They may visit the event on two occasions prior to competition date, and the day before the event runs they will walk the course with the BE steward with whom they work closely throughout the event. Their responsibility is to see that the event runs smoothly and safely within the rules and that emergencies are handled correctly. A TA would carry out an assessment of ground conditions for dressage, show jumping and cross country and advise on any work to be done.
Specific tasks of the technical adviser
- Advising organisers on all aspects of planning and running events
- Advising course builders on the technical aspects of both show jumping and cross country course design and construction, to achieve acceptable BE standards
- Carrying out inspections of the show jumping and cross country courses, in conjunction with the BE steward prior to an event, to ensure that all aspects of the event meet the requirements of BE
- Attendance at allocated events, assisting the BE steward before and throughout the competition
- Carrying out the fence judge briefing
- Assisting regional coordinators by giving a second opinion on possible new events, sites and their organisers, when requested
- Attending BE stewards training days and TA training each year
- Wheeling and measuring the cross country course
- Advising and supporting the BE steward throughout the event
- In consultation with the organiser, choosing the rider representative
- Assisting the BE steward with the organisation of and liaison with cross country control in order to plot radios, determine stopping fences and decide the number of nets
Tasks of the technical adviser before the event
The most important visit is two to three weeks before the event when there is still time for any changes to be implemented. This is when the following is confirmed:
- All general administration is in place and entries accommodated
- All emergency services are booked and have had full instructions
- Dressage and show jumping judges & stewards are confirmed
- Cross country fence judges have been informed when to report for their briefing
- The cross country control team have been informed on where and when to report (with good time for checks and any changes)
- Wheel the distance of the cross country course and check fence dimensions against rules
- Flagging and numbering of fences
- Ground and going check
Cross country course inspection
The day before the event, the TA will then be on hand to approve the event. The cross country must be ready by 2:00pm so that it can be opened to competitors to walk. The cross country course inspection includes:
- Measure fence heights and spreads
- General presentation
- Correct installation of any frangible pins
- Numbering and flagging of course is correct and as per programme
- Mark alternatives correctly
- Display class colour indicators
- Fill in fence description forms
A similar inspection is carried out on the show jumping arena and course and also that the dressage arenas are correctly laid out and lettered.
Technical adviser role on the day of the event
On the event day, it is very much a team effort between the BE steward and the TA. At least an hour before the start of the competition, the final checks are carried out – a last minute drive round the course to ensure numbering is still correct, meet with the cross country controller, emergency services and chief cross country steward. At the allotted time, the fence judges must be briefed on their duties and the TA will then check on them in conjunction with Cross Country Control. The TA should be on hand for the start of the first 20 or so horses to ensure the team there is working well. Once underway, the TA circulates the event to make sure everything is running smoothly, concentrating mainly on the cross country course to see everything is riding well. If the event is running several classes, the TA will oversee any course changes. In consultation with the BE steward, the TA will also handle any competitor queries. When the event comes to a close, the TA is responsible for the collection of the important fall report and medical forms that must be returned to BE.
How to apply to be a technical adviser
Applications to become a TA should be made to the Sport Team at the BE Office with a reference from a regional coordinator, TA or BE steward. If an applicant is successful at interview they will be trained by assisting TAs at different events throughout the year. They will have a log book that will be signed to acknowledge competence in different fields. When all fields in the log book are complete, the form in the back of the log book should be signed by a regional coordinator, TA and BE steward. This will then be submitted to the Sport Team who will decide if the applicant is ready to be deployed into the field. The whole process usually takes around 15 to 18 months. They are then supported at their first event by an experienced TA.