Moving up from Intermediate to Advanced

Moving up from Intermediate to Advanced

If you’re ready to make the move to Advanced then preparation is key, says BE Master Coach Caroline Moore.

While the lower levels are designed as an introduction to the sport, and Novice and Intermediate are to educate you, Advanced level is where you’re being tested on everything you’ve learnt.

CAROLINE SAYS: “I take my students to walk Advanced courses and watch rounds ahead of their move-up to gain familiarity with the added technicality. I then encourage them to schedule in a handful of further runs at Intermediate. Yogi Breisner told me once, the longer a rider spends at Intermediate, the fewer problems they’ll have when they get to Advanced and then 4* and 5*.”

If possible, Caroline (pictured above) recommends finding an Advanced Intermediate (AI) to run as a stepping stone as it will provide the opportunity to work at the higher level and jump a 1.30m showjumping course, while the cross-country is still set at Intermediate.

CAROLINE SAYS: “Plan to step back down. This is something you should consider at every level. Once you’ve completed your move-up event, going out at the previous level next time solidifies the lessons learnt and gives you both plenty of confidence.”

Intermediate to advanced: what you can expect


  • Flying changes are introduced, which can rock the boat for combinations who haven’t put the time into perfecting them.
  • Ensure your grasp on the rest of the test is rock solid and ride it in front of a judge in a training environment if possible.
  • A greater degree of self-carriage and engagement is expected, as is advanced lateral work.

Show jumping

  • Height increases to 1.30m.
  • Lines are set with tighter stride patterns, which means that riders must be more accurate.
  • One double, one treble and at least one related distance feature.
  • You can expect to see a water tray as part of the course.

Cross country

  • Speed steps up again to 570mpm, so don’t go out expecting to make the time in your early runs.
  • ‘Speedbumps’ – such as turns or single fences – are no longer used before tricky combinations, so riders need to understand how to create the correct approach.
  • Combinations ask questions that need to be answered correctly, which means understanding their purpose and knowing your horse.
  • You’ll find more acutely sliced corners and tighter accuracy questions, so make sure you’ve done your homework.

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