Moving up from BE100 to Novice

Moving up from BE100 to Novice

The step from BE100 to Novice can be a challenge, so we catch up with leading trainer Ros Morgan to get her advice.

“At Novice, the sport is more technical in all three phases,” she says. “Dressage is more demanding in its movements and judges also want to see an increased level of self-carriage because that becomes necessary when you’re jumping bigger, more technical tracks.

Ros recommends practising tests in full to familiarise yourself with the extra demands. This isn’t usually done at lower levels, but the tests at Novice level are longer and harder to remember.

ROS SAYS: “Most riders get so used to riding a movement, stopping, discussing it with their coach and then starting again. But if you push yourself to ride the whole test, you’ll feel a bit of tension creep in. This is productive – you need to learn how to ride through it.”

Showjumping courses feature greater complexity, including dog-leg turns, treble combinations and an increase in both jumping efforts and speed, while cross-country introduces questions on varying terrain, as well as more acute angles and a higher speed.

ROS SAYS: “The key to mastering this is methodical dedication. If you’re thinking about an autumn move-up after a really good season at BE100, take the time to identify where you are in each phase.”

Ros advises riders to keep a detailed log of each competition. If you had a refusal, was it on the left or right rein? What kind of fence was it? Look for patterns which can help you target your training.

BE100 to Novice: what you can expect


  • Lateral work makes its first appearance with leg-yield featuring in some tests.
  • You’ll be asked to show some medium strides in trot and canter.
  • Rein-back should be in your arsenal of skills because when done badly, it can cause tension issues through your test.

Show jumping

  • There will be 8-12 numbered obstacles.
  • Maximum height increases to 1.15m.
  • Courses are increasingly technical and can feature two doubles or one double and a treble.
  • You can expect to see a water tray as part of the course.

Cross country

  • You’ll face single obstacles within water jumps and bigger fences into the water.
  • Courses marked with yellow flags.
  • 22-28 jumping efforts.
  • Speed 520m/min compared to 475m/min at BE1000 level.
  • Course length 2400-3120m.
  • Entry and exit into water jumps can include drops in or steps out.

Not the right level for you? Read one of our other guides on moving up: