Novice Level

Novice Level Horses:
The minimum age for any horse to take part in a Graded Endurance Ride (GER) is 5 years. The age of a horse is deemed to change on 1st January of the current year irrespective of the actual birth date during that year.

A Novice horse aged 5 and in its first season may only compete at Novice Level. All Novice horses in their first season may not start in more than ten Graded Endurance Rides (GERs) and must only start rides to a maximum distance of 450km whether or not the rides are completed successfully. A horse presented to the pre-ride veterinary inspection is considered to have started the ride.  

Rides available to Novice Horse/Rider combinations are from 20-50km and are to be completed at between 8-15kph.

A Novice Level horse aged 6 yrs or over in its first season may complete Open qualification ready to compete at Advanced level from the start of its second season - providing the maximum distance is not exceeded.

A horse and rider must compete at the lowest qualification for the combination. For example, an Open Level rider riding a Novice Level horse can only compete at Novice Level.

First season horses may complete their novice and open qualifications, providing age requirements are satisfied. They must not upgrade or compete at advanced level within one season.

However riders may progress to Advanced Level within one season.

Where there is no evidence on the Endurance GB database to show that a horse has successfully completed a Graded Endurance Ride (or equivalent), Competitive Endurance Ride (or equivalent) or FEI Endurance Ride within the three years prior to the current registration year, their qualification level will automatically revert to novice. The horse will then be required to complete the qualification process again before entering an open or advanced level ride. However, a member may forward evidence to the Operations Committee of relevant and recent experience which may allow the horse to be re-graded at open or advanced level.

Minimum Requirements for
Novice Horse or Rider to Progress to Open Level

Minimum age of horse

Ride Types

Minimum No of Successful Completions






(Graded Endurance Rides)



None (rides may be completed in any order of distance)


  • Horses may not compete in Open GERs until they are 6years old.
  • Only Novice horses in their first season are eligible for the Novice Championship Mira Trophy (successful completion of GERs of 45km or less). Novice horses who have started in more than two GERs on a ‘Try Before You Buy’ or ‘Club Membership’ basis prior to their first season are not eligible for the Novice Championship Mira Trophy.
  • Novice horses may only enter GERs on consecutive days if the total scheduled distance does not exceed 80km (+/- 5%).
  • Novice horses can only take part in GERs of over 45km if they have already successfully completed three Novice GERs of between 30 and 45km
  • Riders require the same series of ride qualifications to upgrade but not necessarily as a combination.

At the end of the first season the mastercard must be returned to the Office, regardless of the number of rides competed or the level achieved.

Upgrading of horse or rider is not mandatory once qualification criteria have been fulfilled, but riders or horses may not enter rides above their registered level, regardless of the level of experience attained.

  • The Technical Steward may upgrade the horse or rider on the day of the ride if requested by the rider/registered owner.
  • In circumstances where a horse and/or rider complete the necessary qualification in order to enable them to upgrade, but have not been formally upgraded by a TS, and they then compete in a class that necessitates that they have upgraded, the horse and/or rider shall be automatically upgraded by the Results Co-ordinator.  The Results Co-ordinator shall send notice to this effect.
  • If a horse or rider qualifies for the next level at a multi day event they may compete in one further class at that event at the next level.  Exceptions being Novice 1st season horses who have already reached the maximum 450km distance allowed for the year.

Grading System

The grading system for Graded Endurance Rides is designed to reward horse fitness and good horsemanship.

Horses passing the final vetting shall be awarded a Grade based on the horse's finishing heart rate which shall be taken over a full 60 seconds.  Grading Parameters will apply.

 Link to download Novice grading chart 20-50km (pdf)

Link to download Novice grading chart 20-50km (Excel Spreadsheet)

There are two national trophies for Novice horses and ponies:

The Mira Trophy 
This trophy was presented by Olive and Bernard Linge. It is awarded to the champion novice horse/pony gaining the most points in GERs in their first season of competition (see rules above) competing in rides of up to and including 45km. Distances shall be taken as published in the current Handbook. For rides in excess of 40km, points will be calculated for 40km only. 5yos are not eligible.

Max Shield
This trophy was presented by Susan Miles and is awarded to the novice reserve champion.

The Red Sands Award
This award is presented by Julie Linder and is awarded to the highest placed horse in the Novice Championship ridden all season by a novice rider in their first year of competition with Endurance GB.


New for 2019: Novice Foundation Graded Endurance Rides


Novice 'Foundation' Graded Endurance Rides are 20-29km, to be ridden at between 8-15kph, and will be awarded a grading rosette as per longer Graded Endurance Rides. They do not attract trophy points, and do not count towards upgrading to Open level, but any distance successfully ridden will qualify for lifetime distance awards. Novice 'Foundation' Graded Endurance Rides completed in a horse's first competitive season will count towards the maximum of ten starts/450km.

There is a special trophy for novice horse and novice rider combinations who are competing in Novice 'Foundation' Graded Endurance Rides:

Dr Sue Taylor Green Memorial Trophy

This award is presented by Tracy Thompson. Awarded to the novice horse achieving the highest performance formula score in three Novice Foundation Graded Endurance Rides during the current competition year. Rides completed on a ‘Try Before You Buy’ or ‘Club’ basis can be included. Open and advanced horses are not eligible.