The U.S. Pony Club announced earlier this year that it has expanded its championships qualifications to allow more members to compete. Starting this year, USPC Championships will offer traditional Championship divisions as well as new Modified divisions in each discipline offered at the championships.
The traditional “Championships Division” will now be open to USPC members at the C1 rating level and higher. D3 rated members may compete as stable managers only. For this division, members must be 12 years old by January 1, 2019. However, in the new “Modified Championship Division,” D3 and D2 members may compete as mounted members and D2 members may compete as stable managers. For the modified divisions, members must be 10 years old or older as of January 1, 2019.
In addition to the overall championship changes, each discipline now has two sets of qualifying requirements; one for Championships and one for Modified Championships. It should be noted however, that for the majority of the disciplines offered at championships, both divisions would compete at the same level. For example, Eventing offers Beginner Novice through Preliminary levels for Championships and Beginner Novice through Training for Modified Championships. Therefore, even though lower rating levels are now allowed to compete in Eventing, there are no lower levels of competition being offered. D2s and D3s must compete at the same competition levels as C1s and above.
The qualification requirements are different for each discipline between the Championships division and Modified division. For example, in Dressage, Championship riders must complete Tests 2, 3 and a Musical Freestyle for the competition level they are entered. They must also achieve a minimum score of 60% on Test 3. For Modified dressage riders, only a minimum score of 55% in Test 2 is required. No Test 3 and no Musical Freestyle.
These changes at the championship level have a trickle down affect on the regional rallies as divisions within discipline rallies now have to be adjusted to fit the new championship qualifications. In addition, some regions have already had rallies based on last year’s championship qualifications. Although USPC has stated that there will be no exceptions based on member age or rating level, there may be exceptions made on a case by case basis for riders who completed qualifying rallies before the rule changes were made.
District commissioners and center administrators are encouraged to contact the USPC national office with any questions related to the championship changes.