Full Moon Farm Eventing Guidelines for
"Moving Up Through the Levels"

One of the most common questions asked of the instructors at FMF is," When can I move up?" Answers that are crystal clear to the instructors, based on years, or in Ms K's case centuries ;-) of experience, are not so clear to everyone else. This guide is meant to give easily visible and clearly understandable criteria for the rider and their parents to aid in making the move up as fun, stress free, and successful as possible.

This guide is meant for horse and rider combinations as they climbing to each new level. The starting point of the journey may be slightly different if the rider has competed at a level before on a different horse. More experienced riders must still demonstrate the skills necessary for competing at each level on each mount, but it is not expected, for example, that a rider that has competed at Novice will take their new horse that has gone Preliminary all the way back to Elementary and start over. New partnerships will be evaluated on a case by case basis, but the move up skill sets still apply. Also, remember that all horse trials are different. Some horse trails are more difficult than others. Furthermore, the unrecognized horse trials often have unique designations for their levels. Always ask your instructor before signing up to ensure that you are in the most beneficial division.

Eventing is a journey. There are three stages of development in each level. The stages are entry, competency, and then preparation for the move up. Expect it to take a MINIMUM of one season to go through a level. Don't be surprised if it takes longer. In the case of a bad event, a fall, or other problem, it will very likely be necessary to go down a level in order to regain a horse and/or rider's confidence. This DOES NOT mean that you or your horse is inferior or bad in any way. Eventing is a confidence game and if confidence is lost it WILL take time to rebuild. It is your responsibility to your horse to give him or her the time that they need. Moving up is not a race. Eventing is about a successful, safe, AND POSITIVE experience for BOTH the horse and rider. Moving up too quickly will almost always result in a significant delay in reaching the full potential of the horse and rider.

There is nothing more fun and exhilarating for both horse and rider than to cross the finish of cross country after a clear and correct run. There is nothing worse than not coming home safely. Think, for just one moment, how you would feel if your overzealousness injured your horse. It is our responsibility to always put the wellbeing of the horse first and our job as riders is to demonstrate the correct judgment and to put forth the considerable effort required to make all of the runs the rewarding, safe, and fun kind!

REQUIREMENTS TO MOVE UP TO THESE LEVELS:

ELEMENTARY:
   I. Dressage
      A. Demonstrate ability to ride correct 20 meter circles at trot
      B. Demonstrate ability to ride correct centerlines and changes of direction across the diagonal properly.
   II. Cross Country
      A. Successfully complete at least 2 clinics at the Elem. level
      B. Approval of instructor
   III. Stadium
      A. Able to canter a course of six 18" jumps in the arena consistently in a safe manner.

BBN/INTRO
   I. Dressage
      A. Demonstrate ability to ride correct 20 meter circles at trot and canter
      B. Consistently bend horse correctly for circles and turns
   II. Cross Country
      A. Successfully complete at least two clinics at BBN level
      B. Successfully complete at least one Pipe Opener at BBN
   III. Stadium
      A. Able to canter a course of at least six fences at 2'3 in the arena consistently (balanced and on the correct lead) in a safe manner.
   IV. Competition – Complete at least two events at the Elem. level with
      A. Dressage score of 45 or lower
      B. Cross Country – Clear, no issues
      C. Stadium – Clear – trotting or cantering the whole course in a controlled manner.
   V. Other
      A. Be able to trot all the way around the big cross country field in a controlled, balanced manner.

BEGINNER NOVICE
   I. Dressage
      A. Able to bend horse consistently in both directions
      B. Able to consistently perform transitions between the gaits on command within three steps
      C. Beginning to get the horse on the bit
   II. Cross Country
      A. Complete at least two cross country clinics at the BN level
      B. Complete at least one pipe opener at BN level at a timed speed of 325 mpm in a balanced safe manner.
   III. Stadium
      A. Able to canter a course of at least six fences at 2'9 in the arena consistently (balanced and on the correct lead) in a safe manner
   IV. Competition – Complete at least 3 events at BBN level with
      A. Dressage score 45 or lower
      B. Cross Country – Clear no issues – All at canter unless footing or course necessitates trotting
      C. Stadium – Clear no issues
   V. Other
      A. Rider must demonstrate ability to attain a balanced 325 mpm canter from a working canter within five strides.
      B. Rider must demonstrate ability to attain a balanced working canter from a 325 mpm canter within five strides

NOVICE

   I. Dressage
      A. Horse consistently on the bit for walk-trot-canter
      B. Consistently perform prompt organized transitions
   II. Cross Country
      A. Successfully complete at least two x/country clinics at the Novice level
      B. Successfully complete at least one pipe opener at 350 mpm in a balanced safe manner
   III. Stadium
      A. Canter courses at 3'3 in the arena consistently (balanced and on the correct lead) in a safe manner
   IV. Competition – Complete at least 3 events at the BN level with
      A. Dressage score 40 or below
      B. Cross Country – Clear with no time faults
      C. Stadium – Clear no time faults

TRAINING

   I. Dressage
      A. Consistently on the bit for walk-trot-canter
      B. Prompt, organized transitions
      C. Beginning collection and lengthening
      D. Beginning to show some proficiency at stretch circles
   II. Cross Country
      A. Successfully complete at least 2 x/country clinics at the Training level
      B. Successfully complete at least 1 pipe opener at 420 mpm at the Training level in a balanced safe manner
   III. Stadium
      A. Canter courses at 3'6" in the arena consistently in a safe manner (balanced and on the correct lead)
   IV Competition – Complete at least 3 events at Novice with
      A. Dressage score 40 or below
      B. Cross Country – Clear and no time faults
      C. Stadium – Clear with no time faults

PRELIMINARY AND ABOVE – Follow USEA guidelines

This is a little note from Mr. Mike for those of you who have read this far. I learned the hard way how important it is to always be certain that you and your horse are ready to move up. With Porter I rushed my move up to Preliminary and paid a price in terms of time and training for doing so. We were schooling well at and above the height and not much bothered him, but he was always a bit uncertain at the water. Well, my first Preliminary event was more challenging than I had hoped and resulted in me falling off at the water.  It took me a good six months of schooling every water I could find to overcome the loss of confidence that one mistake had cost us. Had I waited another event or two, or really concentrated on the issue in schooling, before moving up I would have continued towards my goal of a CCI* at a much quicker pace. Lesson learned. We, as humans, may get over mistakes quickly, but it takes quite a bit longer for our equine partners to regain their confidence when we overface them.