Rules and Safety

As the national governing body for the sport of eventing in Great Britain, British Eventing regulates as well as schedules more than 170 events throughout Britain that cater for over 15,000 members and nearly 94,000 entries per season (March to October). Classes range from entry level National competitions to the highest International levels.

British Eventing provides the rules and regulations for events that are affiliated to BE but do not own or run the events.

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Why compete with BE?

British Eventing is a World-leader in research and implementation of safety initiatives; we invest much time and resource into safety research, which is the foundation of our rules and regulations. When you enter a BE affiliated event you know you will be competing at an event that is set to the highest standards in the sport. Some of those safety initiatives include:

Fence safety

Frangible pinning kits have been mandatory on all suitable fences since 2006 and since 2012 have been supplied free of charge to organisers. Reverse pinning kits have been free of charge since 2014 and the latest technology, MIM clips, since 2016.

What is a frangible pin?

The frangible pin is a safety device that can be fitted to a range of post and rail type fences. The frangible pins sit under the rail (one at each side) and are designed to break when a certain force is applied to the rail; for example, in the event of a horse impacting a fence, it will allow the rail to drop, thus reducing the risk of a rotational horse fall. The rail is connected to the post with a system of ropes or wires so that the rail is retained and does not hit the ground or roll. The pins can be fitted in two ways, conventionally with the rail on the take-off side, or reverse with the rail on the landing side.

What is a MIM clip?

With the same aim of reducing the risk of a rotational fall as the frangible pin, the MIM clips (which are fitted to each side of the rail) break when impacted horizontally by a horse, which allows the rail to fall. The rail is connected to the post with a hinge so it folds away from the horse.

Safety training of officials

BE stewards and technical advisers are trained to carry out their roles with the safety of the sport as their top priority. Our recording systems contain details of every cross country fence on every course and every fall that occurs at them, and through disciplinary and incident lists allow officials to report and monitor areas of concern in order that competitors are given the advice and support they need. For example, this could mean that a rider is referred to a BE Accredited Trainer for some help in the interest of their safety. Cross country courses at BE events must be designed and built by BE accredited course designers and builders, who are certified at the appropriate level having completed a specialist training scheme. Each BE event appoints an independent health and safety steward to assess potential risks and advise accordingly.

Medical safety

Depending on the individual requirements of each event (dictated by site layout, size, access and number of spectators, amongst other things), at least one doctor and two paramedics or two doctors and one paramedic will be on site during the event (except in certain cases where dressage only is taking place). The doctors must be registered with the General Medical Council, have a licence to practise and have the appropriate medical indemnity. It is also recommended that they are trained in pre-hospital emergency care. The paramedics must suitably qualified in accordance with our rules. There will also be at least one appropriately manned and equipped ambulance.

The doctor(s) and paramedic(s) will be in radio communication with cross country control and will have vehicular access around the event site to facilitate an emergency response if necessary. If the ambulance is not able to access all areas of the site, for example in bad weather, the event will not continue. The on-site doctor also checks every competitor who falls off their horse, whether during competition or not, before they are permitted to re-mount or go home. Competitors who are injured or advised to go to hospital are suspended from further competition until they are signed back on by their GP or appropriately qualified person (21 days for concussion). Members are required to comply with the BEF Anti-Doping Rules for human athletes, which comply with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code and List of Prohibited Substances.

Veterinary safety

An experienced and insured veterinary surgeon is always on site when show jumping and cross country are taking place (on dressage only days, if a vet is not on site, there will always be an on-call arrangement). In addition to the vet, a dedicated and fully equipped horse ambulance must be provided by the organiser. All horses on site, whether taking part in the competition or not, must have a valid passport and record to show current vaccination against equine influenza. Members of BE are bound by the BEF Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Rules (BEFAR) and a national programme of equine testing is in operation to enforce these rules.

Safety database

All the dimensions and profiles of every fence on every course that are recorded and entered into the BE safety database are annually audited by Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), and any trends or tendencies are acted upon to try and keep the sport as safe as possible.

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BE Rules and Members' Handbook (Please login to view)

Minimum Eligibility Requirements

Penalties explained

Question about rules?

If you have a question about rules that you cannot find in the BE Rules and Members' Handbook, please contact the Sport Team on or 02476 698856 (select the option for Sport/Rules).

BE Officials

Complaints Procedure

If for any reason you would like to contact us regarding a complaint please find our complaints procedure HERE.