Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply to the Facebook question. To explain a bit further to the vague question about what to do IF we end up with a shortfall of entries…….
- This year’s qualifier season has been cut short by Covid restrictions, so the usual 7-month period was reduced to 4 months.
- We’ve tried to open as many qualifying opportunities for competitors as possible by extending qualifying places from 4th to 6th place and opening up applications for open qualifier forms (that can be used at any centre).
- We’ve tried to help competitors find dates to go to by encouraging venues to share their dates with you via our monthly selection of dates publication and via our new Facebook page dedicated to qualifier dates.
- However, we hear that people are finding it tough to get the qualifications they want in time for the end of the season on 31st
- A number of people suggested extending the qualifying period, however this is really tricky and creates all sorts of problems with overlap to entries, difficulties with processing qualifier numbers quickly enough, lack of time to verify results and deal with queries. So, we have ended up with a strict policy of no overlap in qualification period and entry period.
- Another suggestion would be to extend both qualification period and entry period by a week or so, but the time after entries closes in mid-August is already crammed full for us. It takes whole week to sort the entries, try to help people on waiting lists, update timetables etc and then 8-10 days solidly just preparing times and start lists. Which leave us with a week to finalise the rest of the work and then a few days to pack everything up and ship out to Hickstead. Believe me it’s dawn to midnight, 8 days a week!
Looking at the number of successful registrations and comparing to 2019, there appears to be a shortfall in some areas. Currently show jumping registrations are strong – there seems to be plenty of show jumping shows to go to; dressage is medium – some are struggling to find qualifiers; eventers challenge is low – it’s been a big problem to run enough qualifiers because typically most are in the winter months; showing is very low – people are really struggling to find qualifiers.
For Eventers Challenge, we had already taken the decision to run open & qualifier classes on Thursday and championship classes on Friday. Pre-qualified competitors will be able to enter directly into the championships (and open classes if they want) and un-qualified competitors will be able enter open classes, with a chance to qualify for the corresponding championship. We will try to even out the number of qualifying places in each height once championship entries are counted.
It’s hard to tell what the uptake from qualification to entry will be, hence my question about What If?? The feedback revealed that:
- Most people are VERY keen to keep the championships strictly to qualified competitors. This is great news to us, the importance of qualifying has always been central to the show and in our opinion, makes the show a very special event. We’re aware of the lengths that people go to in order to get qualified!
- Many people said that if there weren’t enough qualified competitors, they would opt to run a cutback show. Interesting to know, and we might cut back in some areas of showing to prioritise the mainstream and popular classes. To cut back the show after entries close is rather difficult, to reshuffle timetables considerably after entries would be extremely hard for everyone.
- Some people said they would opt to include some extra open classes, possibly with last minute chances to qualify. This is the most practical option; I am looking at the timetables to see if I can add some classes that could be open and if needed can offer the option of last-minute qualifiers without having to turn the timetable on its head after entries close.
So, before I melt my brain trying to build some qualifier options in …….. I have ONE QUESTION:
FYI this scenario is unlikely in show jumping; possible in dressage and quite likely in showing.
Scenario: There are some open classes on offer (this is usual for most disciplines). Pre-qualified competitors enter their choice of championship & open classes as usual. Once entries are processed, we find that some championship classes are not filled. We then allow un-qualified competitors the chance to enter open classes (might involve a bit of timetable shuffling to add extra time in open classes), which also offer last-minute chances to qualify for championships. This would likely have to be for a championship later the same day (except Eventers Challenge as explained above).
Do you have an objection to this possibility, in principle? Do you think this is a fair way to use the allocated ring time and allow competitors seeking qualification a chance? Do you feel that last-minute qualification isn’t fair?