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Stepping up to one star

For many riders competing in the entry levels of BE, moving up and taking on a one star is a big goal. It’s the first rung on the international competition ladder and brings with it new rules, formats and – some slightly tedious but vitally important – extra admin.

If you have a one star in your sights for the latter part of the season it’s really important that you are clued up on the differences, have your paperwork in order and have put in the correct fitness work and schooling. 

The basics

One star is the first level of international (FEI) competition. There are two types: CIC1* and CCI1*.

CIC1* – has a similar format to BE Novice class compared to a CCI1*, but it still has the added admin required for international classes and the possible addition of a Horse Inspection.

CCI1* – follows the three day event format of dressage, then cross country finishing with the show jumping, there are also two Horse Inspections (one before dressage and one before show jumping) and has a longer cross country course. 

Minimum Eligibility Requirements to compete in one star events

CIC1* – you must have achieved qualifying results at two Novice competitions.

CCI1* – you need to have obtained qualifying results in one of the following combinations:

  • 4 x Novice plus 1 x Intermediate
  • 4 x Novice plus 1 x CIC1*
  • 6 x Novice

(All competitors in the year of their 18th birthday and younger must achieve the MERs as a combination)

A qualifying result is:

  • Dressage not more than 50 penalties (45 penalties in a CIC1*)
  • Show jumping not more than 16 jumping penalties
  • Cross country clear jumping with no more than 30 time penalties

The minimum age for competing at one star is from the beginning of the calendar year that the rider turns 14.

Competitors in the year of their 16th birthday and younger may only enter a one star class if they have an exemption to do so from the Chairman of their Youth Programme.

The paperwork

  • Both horse and rider require an FEI registration to compete at one star – CCI and CIC 
  • This can take up to 14 days for BE to process so get your registration in early 
  • Horse and Rider FEI Registration forms can be downloaded on the BE website
  • Horses need to be identifiable by a microchip 
  • Non GB riders need to go through their own National Federation to register
  • Your horse DOES NOT need an FEI passport to compete at an international class within the UK below CIC3* – you only need one to compete in an international class abroad or at CIC3* and above in the UK
  • If you would like to compete abroad you will need to apply to compete overseas and you will require some extra documentation for your horse in order to travel, such as health certificates, export license and insurance


  • The FEI rules state that the horse’s most recent booster must have been given within the six months and 21 days prior to the competition
  • This may mean that you need to have an extra booster before your one star competition, but does not necessarily mean that you have to give the horse boosters every six months as it will depend on what your competition schedule is going forward
  • Horses cannot have a booster within the seven days prior to the competition for FEI competitions
  • You will need to make sure that your vaccination record in your horse’s passport is up to date and complete showing the full history, including the primary course and all yearly boosters – all passports will be checked! 

BE Novice vs one star

Some of the key differences between BE and FEI

  • In addition to your entry fee, at the time of entry you will be charged an extra fee of £16 by the FEI for the Worldwide Equine & Human Anti-Doping Programme
  • At all times when out of the stable (both ridden and in hand) your horse must be wearing their identification or draw number somewhere on them i.e. saddle pad, martingale, bridle, headcollar
  • At some CIC1* events and definitely at a CCI1* competition you will need to stable at the event. This will take some extra consideration – speak to a coach or rider who has done this so they can advise on best practices and any additional or useful equipment you might need
  • There are some differences between the FEI rules and BE rules when it comes to dress and saddlery – make sure you are aware of them. The FEI rule book is available online
  • Officials: at FEI competitions, a 'Ground Jury' is in charge with a Technical Delegate. As well as making sure that the competition is fair and safe, the Ground Jury will conduct the Horse Inspections, along with the Veterinary Delegate
  • In the cross country phase of FEI competitions, you may get 11 penalties for activating a frangible device or 50 penalties for jumping outside the flag, but you have the option to attempt the fence again or contest this at the end of your round

Top tips on going one star

  • It is essential that your horse is fit enough to compete at one star, particularly CCI1*, which has a longer cross country course and could be up to 2km further than you are used to competing at a one day event
  • Doing some show jumping schooling the day after your gallop day will help prepare you and your horse for coming out to show jump on the final day after the cross country at a CCI1*
  • Make sure you seek some advice from someone who has competed at international that can help you prepare your horse for the Horse Inspection. Some horses can be 100% fit, well and sound, but you still need to ensure they are presented correctly to the Ground Jury, e.g. making sure they are going forward, they trot in a straight line, you don’t restrict their head carriage, etc.
  • British Eventing’s Gatehouse Stepping Stones training series is a great way to prepare for one star events with courses scheduled ahead of specific one star competitions, course walks and advice on moving up the levels.