Each year around 500 students take part in British national equestrian competitions run by British University & Colleges Sport (BUCS), from which the most successful ones are selected to represent Great Britain as part of a team either at home or abroad.
Riders travel all over the world to countries such as Canada, Belgium and Romania to compete at Student Riders Nations Cup (SRNC) events, as well as the World University Equestrian Championships (WUEC), which take place every two years. Five SRNCs are run each year with the countries earning the most points battling it out in December at the SRNC World Finals. The competitions are run under Association Internationale des Etudiants Cavaliers (AIEC), the governing body for the sport.
A Student Riders Nations Cup is an International Combined Dressage and Showjumping event in which competitors ride horses provided by the host country in a knockout competition. The Luck of the Draw - horses are drawn by each country's chef d'equipe before commencement of the competition. Three riders from three countries each ride the same horse once and the best scoring rider moves to the next round. Each round becomes increasingly more challenging and requires horses of different calibres. The finalists must compete on two different horses to determine the winner. What makes these competitions so challenging is that riders only have five minutes to warm up on their Dressage horses, and two practice jumps before Showjumping rounds.
The first round of dressage is ridden as a team test. In all subsequent rounds riders compete individually and the fourth round of dressage also involves a freestyle test to music. The first round of Show Jumping is judged on style, the second round is judged on faults and style, and the results of the third and fourth rounds are based on faults and time.
With the AIEC philosophy being 'One world, one sport, many friends', Great Britain looks to send the best riders we have into an environment where meeting people is as important as the competition itself.