What are ballot dates and numbers and how does balloting work?

What are ballot dates and numbers and how does balloting work?

Have you heard the term ‘ballot date’ and ‘ballot number’ but weren’t too sure what they actually mean? Have you wondered how entries are prioritised in a ballot? Do you know how to use a ballot? Read our FAQ below to see if this helps shed some light on balloting.

Why does British Eventing have a balloting system?

The ballot process is a fair and equitable way to ensure members can get runs across the calendar months, with horses allocated one ballot per month to be used in the relevant month only. In addition, horses are allocated super ballots (one for a half-season pass, two for a season pass). Super ballots can be used in any month. This allows entrants to select their preferred run each month, and for that super special event, you can use your super ballot.

The ballot process is detailed below and there is technology in place to ensure the rules are adhered to by events. Where events do ballot heavily, many organisers take time to explain the process so riders understand why they were or were not balloted.

How many events ballot per year?

In normal years (not during the pandemic) on average between 14-18 events ballot across the calendar, it is unusual for events to have to ballot. It is rare to ballot above Novice. Higher classes do take precedence in the event of a ballot.

Where can I find my ballot?

Ballots will be emailed when the Horse Season Ticket is purchased, or they can be viewed by logging into My BE and clicking on the horse’s name.

How do I use a ballot?

When entering an event, select from the drop-down menu the ballot that you would like to use. Under your horse’s record on the BE website, you will be able to see which ballots are available, which have been used and at which event.

Do I need to use my normal ballot with a super ballot?

No, you can’t do this. The entry system lets you choose either the monthly ballot or a super ballot. You don’t use both for one event.

When should I use my ballot number?

There are very popular events where a ballot is required to get a run and some need the super ballot. The schedules indicate if an event balloted in the previous season to help you understand if you should consider using a ballot. If you are unsure, your peers can often guide you.

What happens if I get balloted when I used my ballot?

If you used a monthly ballot, you will get a super ballot to use during the remainder of the season. If you used a super ballot, it will be returned and you will be given an additional super ballot.

Do I get my ballot allocation back if I withdraw?

Yes but only if you withdraw before ballot date and that allocation can only be used in the month it is intended for.

How do I find my ballot allocation?

When you make your entry, enter your horse name and there is a drop-down menu to select a ballot for the applicable month. If the ballot has already been used, you won’t see it available, but you may still have a super ballot available to use if you wish.

The online schedules show you which month’s ballot numbers are to be used for the event:

In your horse details you can also see their ballot allocation and where they have already been used.

Can I go back and apply my ballot number after I have entered?

No, you must select it at the time of entry, this is the only fair way to do it and the technology will also prevent it.

There is no longer the option to wait list when I enter?

This option has been removed in 2021, you will automatically be placed onto the wait list if your entry is not accepted and not balloted. If you don’t want to be wait listed, just let the entry secretary know via their contact details on the schedule.

Do I get a refund if I withdraw from the wait list?

Yes, if you withdraw a waitlisted entry, you get refunded in full. If the event is not able to accept your entry from the waitlist into a section (perhaps there were fewer withdrawals than expected), then your entry will be refunded in full after the event.

How do I know if my entry gets in from the wait list?

Keep an eye on the lists on the BE website. They are printed in the order that entries are expected to be accepted (it doesn’t always work like this for riders of more than one horse and entries who don’t have the MERs yet). Some entries secretaries will also email you when your entry is accepted.

Who should I contact if I have a query with my entry?

The entry secretary for the event you have entered should be your first port of call for queries. Their details and preferred contact method is always shown on the schedule of the event, just remember this is their work/office so business hours are always preferred.

Do I need to use my ballot or super ballot for FEI classes?

No, ballot and super ballot are only for National Classes. FEI can ballot classes but this is done differently and using your BE ballot won’t help as they can’t be used. Refer to the FEI rules on their procedures for ballot as they are not the same as shown here.

How balloting works – behind the scenes

Balloting for National Classes is detailed in Chapter 4 of the BE rule book.

Step 1: Decide how many entries the event can accept

Every event is allocated a number of days of competition and class type that they can run by BE.

When entries close, the event secretary looks at the numbers of entries received for each class and the numbers that can run per day which are:

  • 258 (spring, autumn and Covid)
  • 300 (covid-free summers).

The rule of thumb limit is 42 entries per section, although there are exceptions.

The entry secretary and scorer then work out the plan of the numbers to accept, and to waitlist in each class, taking into consideration many factors with the rules foremost.

A snapshot of what the entry secretary uses is below – this is the new balloting system on eventing scores and is to be used for the first time this season:

The plan is then checked with the organiser and, if necessary, the youth coordinator. The event is then starting to take shape with the type of number of classes per day, this then allows us to decide if we have to ballot.

If enough entries are received at the date of ballot to consider running an extra day then the organiser will apply to the regional coordinator who will take the request back to BE.

Step 2: Accept, waitlist, ballot

If an event has to ballot then the rules apply, following the acceptance list of entries, with technology also playing a part to ensure rules are adhered to. The full list is in the rule book, but a summary is shown below.

Behind the scenes entries are placed into categories (as shown in the picture) and this is then used against the class plan to decide which entries can be accepted (green), waitlisted (yellow) or ballot out (red).

This list is checked with the organiser and regional co-ordinator:

Step 3: Notify entries

Ballot lists and wait lists are published as soon as possible. The lists go up onto the website and entrants receive notification by email. The entries secretary will then process the entry fee refunds and the replacement ballots are allocated.

An example from Bicton in 2018 for the BE90 class

There were 196 entries for 108 spaces. Of the 196 entries:

  • 22 used a super ballot
  • 63 used a monthly ballot

That is 85 spaces allocated

Then the entries the organiser wishes to accept (event sponsors) are also tightly controlled by the rules

  • 2 spaces allocated

That left 21 spaces PLUS 21 wait list (BE rules apply to the percentage of the wait list that can be kept).

As there were no riders in List 5 of the ballot rules, List 6 then applied of which there were 63 entries. The decision on who to accept was down to the entry secretary in this list as they all had “equal rights” (the decision was made based on geography; accepting all entries with a Devon address and one with a Cornish address). In total, 21 entries were balloted from this list.

  • 21 spaces allocated
  • 21 wait listed

The remaining 46 entries were balloted based on BE rules; riders’ 2nd/3rd horse; members with horse day pass; both horse and rider with a day pass.

Total ballot: 67