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How to know when it is time To Affiliate with the BSJA





















How to know when it is time To Affiliate – Are you ready to take the next step?

Caldene-sponsored columnist Ellen Whitaker provides readers with advice on moving in to affiliated showjumping.  Read on to find out more.....

Affiliated show jumping is a great way to help further your ability and competition experience as horse and rider. 

The BSJA is the governing body for showjumping and you need to be a member to compete at affiliated level. 

It aims to improve and maintain standards of show jumping, while encouraging members of all standards and at all levels to enjoy fair competition over safe and attractive courses.

But should you affiliate or not?

The answer is yes if you and your horse are confident and ready to move up to the next level in the show jumping arena.


If you feel positive that your and your horse are jumping well at unaffiliated level then you should easily cope with the BSJA Novice competitions that run at similar heights.

Prize money is available if you are successful, and the winnings are entered on to your horse’s official record.  A horse with lots of money on his card, is either very good, or has been competing for a long time.


The BSJA courses you will meet, will certainly improve you and your horse, and the stiffer competition should make you try harder and become more ambitious.

If you have any slight reservations about joining then I suggest you put it on hold for a while.  Over facing you and your horse is not a good thing and you should always leave the ring with a good experience. 



If you are unsure about joining straight away and feel it is a risk to join, I would suggest you have a taster day and buy a ‘Day Ticket’. This way, you only have to pay for one day, and not worry about spending a year’s worth of membership if you are not successful or feel you need to drop down a level.

You will quickly know if affiliated competition is really for you and you horse.

Affiliated classes start at British Novice level and move up. Over time, hopefully you should be winning some money on your trips out to different affiliated competitions. When this happens you automatically get excluded from certain classes when you have won over a certain amount. This means that you have to move up to the next class and jump a bigger round of fences.

Some riders feel BSJA is a big step-up, if not physically for you then mentally but if you are prepared you will enjoy the challenge and excellent standards.

Jumping under BSJA rules means that you will be riding against some professional riders at shows often held at professional venues at the higher level classes.

The courses you jump may not be bigger than the ones you have been jumping at local shows but they will seem to be. A well built course, full of colour, using lots of poles and fillers will look quite imposing. The standard of jumps used in BSJA is repeatedly better than those used at unrecognised shows.

In general, the whole set-up at an affiliated show will be safer and more professional than at local, unaffiliated shows. The access and parking should even be better prepared. The courses will be built by an approved course builder, and official judges. All of these people involved will be well versed in the rules and in safety procedures.

Shows recognised by the BSJA offer a wide range of competitions for every grade of horse and rider. The novice classes will start you off gently so that you’re not thrown in at the deep end. Classes then rise progressively through the grades, Discovery, Newcomers, Foxhunters right through to International Trials, which are 1.55m or more.



At the end of the day it comes down to confidence and skill, if you are lucky enough to have both of these, then what are you waiting for? Good Luck!


Ellen’s Gear Guide

















During Autumn, Ellen loves to wear the Belton gilet from Caldene’s Autumn/Winter Collection when she’s at home, out shopping or warming up for a class.






For more information or your local stockist contact Caldene on 01274 711101 or visit


Team Horsemart
Published on 28-10-2009