Moving up from Novice to Intermediate

Moving up from Novice to Intermediate

If your aim is to move up to Intermediate level coach Robin Dumas asks, are you fully prepared?

Negotiating a move-up at the upper levels of the sport should never be a gamble, says Robin Dumas (pictured above left), who teaches riders up to CCI5. It should be the result of careful consideration, long-term preparation and regular coaching from a trainer who’s not afraid of hard truths.

ROBIN SAYS: “Often, riders will jump a clear in a competent enough fashion, secure their qualification and think it’s enough to step up, but often it’s not.”

Rather than splitting lessons between dressage and jumping trainers, Robin advises finding the best eventing coach you can and training all three phases with the same person.

ROBIN SAYS: “All three phases are linked and your training in one directly impacts the others, so you’ll make more progress if you ride with someone who can put all the pieces of the puzzle together. They will also know how you handle nerves and pressure, which is essential to help you be safe and competitive”

Novice to Intermediate: what you can expect


  • More technical lateral work, simple changes, and collected and extended paces.
  • Movements are similar to Novice, but judges are looking for fluency and smoothness – and you’ll need to sit the trot.

Show jumping

  • There will be 8-12 numbered obstacles.
  • Maximum height increases to 1.25m.
  • 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 to 550mpm
  • Courses feature trickier combinations, designed to prepare you for the test of the top level.
  • Intermediate cross country courses are marked with a green flag.
  • 26-32 jumping efforts.
  • Course length 2,800-3,500m.

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