Grading Explained

The information provided on this page is for informational purposes.  In the event of any discrepancy or should there be any doubt, please consult an up-to-date version of the rule book as this will supersede the information contained herein.

Members of affiliate clubs are graded in three disciplines – dressage, show jumping and cross-country – so that:

  1. They are not asked in competition to do anything which is above or below their level of expertise and which would prove personally dangerous or impose unnecessary hardship on the horses.
  2. To standardise competition standards throughout the country with the object of placing as many riders as possible on as equal a footing as possible.

 

The Grades

Who is responsible for grading members?

Grading of individual members is the responsibility of the club Grading committee, with the advice where appropriate of a recognised instructor. 

The onus is on the grading committee to grade their riders fairly and in a sporting manner.

Where a club does not have a grading committee, the main club committee is responsible for grading its members in a fair and sporting manner. The member does not grade themselves.

Download our guide for grading members in your club:

Grading in the Club (D32/13)

110.80 KB 405 downloads

Basic Grading Rules

There are a number of rules to bear in mind when grading an individual:

  • A rider, generally, may not have a grade span of more than one different grade between disciplines (i.e. AI/AP/I in not permitted).
  • The cross-country grade must not be higher than the show jumping grade at any level.
  • In circumstances, where the SJ and XC grades are permitted to be two grades lower or more than the dressage grade, the two jumping grades must be the same.  (i.e. O/AP/AP)
  • Primary riders are not graded for cross-country.  Their show jumping grade cannot be higher.
  • Primary riders may upgrade in dressage without changing their show jumping grade, however they will not be graded in cross-country.

 

How are members graded?

Each member should be assessed when they join an affiliated club and this can be performed by the club grading officer:

  1. Reviewing the information provided on their application form.
  2. Check online databases of Dressage Ireland, Eventing Ireland, Show Jumping Ireland, and any other relevant databases to ascertain as to what level the member has been competing at.
  3. Assess the rider at a lesson.

 

Eligibility Criteria

Outlined below are the eligibility criteria for each grade.  

Members should note that their activities in other equestrian organisations – such as Dressage Ireland, Eventing Ireland and ShowJumping Ireland – can have an impact on their eligibility for a grade.   This may result in them being no longer eligible for a grade and having to upgrade.  

For example, if you are graded at Intermediate for show jumping (0.90m) but you are competing at 1.00m in SJI competitions, you are no longer eligible for Intermediate and must upgrade to Advanced Intermediate. 

This is to ensure fairness in AIRC competitions.

Primary

Is to cater for the beginner rider and therefore it is imperative that this grade is not abused. They may compete at club level and inter-club level under AIRC rules.
ActivityEligibility Criteria
DressageThey may not compete in Dressage Ireland competitions. Riders who wish to compete in these must upgrade to AP.
Show JumpingThey may not compete in SJI competitions.
Eventing / Horse TrialsThey may only train over specifically designed fences.
Cross JumpThey may compete in competitions that are specifically designed for them.
TrecThey may compete in competitions that are specifically designed for them. The orienteering phase must be specifically designed and be able to be monitored.

Advanced Primary

Is to cater for the more experienced Primary rider, who is in search of the principles of riding and training.
ActivityEligibility Criteria
DressageThey may compete in Dressage Ireland competitions or unregistered Dressage Ireland competitions, up to and including Preliminary standard. Should they attain 65% or higher or the equivalent points on five occasions in registered and unregistered Dressage Ireland competitions in a calendar year, they will be required to upgrade to Intermediate.
Show JumpingThey may not compete in classes exceeding 0.80m.
Eventing / Horse TrialsThey may only compete in club and inter-club competitions over a specifically designed course.
Hunter TrialsThey may only compete in club and inter-club competitions over a specifically designed course.
Cross JumpThey may compete in competitions at an appropriate height.

Intermediate

Is to cater for the more competent rider in search of developing the principles of riding and training.
ActivityEligibility Criteria
DressageThey may compete and gain points at Preliminary level only in registered and unregistered Dressage Ireland competitions. Should they obtain 72% or higher on three occasions in registered and unregistered Dressage Ireland competitions, they will be required to upgrade to Advanced Intermediate.
Show JumpingThey may not compete in classes exceeding 0.90m.
Eventing / Horse TrialsThey may not compete in classes where they exceed the dimensions as prescribed in rule 7, b for this grade.
Hunter TrialsThey may compete in competitions at an appropriate height.
Cross JumpThey may compete in competitions at an appropriate height.

Advanced Intermediate

Is to cater for the more active rider who is beginning to understand the principles of riding and training.
ActivityEligibility Criteria
DressageThey may compete and gain points up to and including Novice level in registered and unregistered Dressage Ireland competitions. Should they obtain 72% or higher on three occasions at Novice level in registered and unregistered Dressage Ireland competitions, they will be required to upgrade to Open.
Show JumpingThey may not compete in classes exceeding 1.00m with the exception of Amateur A level only.
Eventing / Horse TrialsThey may not compete in classes where they exceed the dimensions as prescribed in rule 7, b for this grade.
Hunter TrialsThey may compete in competitions at an appropriate height.
Cross JumpThey may compete in competitions at an appropriate height.

Open

Is to cater for the more experienced and active rider.
ActivityEligibility Criteria
DressageThey may compete and gain points up to and including Elementary level in registered and unregistered Dressage Ireland competitions.
Show JumpingThey may not compete in classes exceeding 1.10m with the exception of Amateur AA level.
Eventing / Horse TrialsThey may not compete in classes where they exceed the dimensions as prescribed in rule 7, b for this grade.
Hunter TrialsThey may compete in competitions at an appropriate height.
Cross JumpThey may compete in competitions at an appropriate height.

Advanced Open

The Advanced Open rider may compete at any level in Dressage Ireland, Eventing Ireland and Show Jumping Ireland competitions.
ActivityEligibility Criteria

Multi-Disciplined Competitions

In multi-disciplined competitions where the rider has split gradings, then their grade for that competition will be as follows:

  1. Combined Training - Competitors will compete at their show jumping grade in all phases.
  2. Horse Trials / Eventing - Competitors will compete at their cross-country grade in all phases.
  3. Cross Jump - Competitors will compete at their cross-country grade. (Primary riders may still compete at Primary level over a specifically designed course.)

 

Changing Grades

A members club must first approve of the change in a member's grade.  Once they have, they follow these steps:

  1. The Club must apply for approval from your region for the change of grade(s).

  2. The changes are not automatic as once you've received regional approval, you must then apply to National Office to implement the changes.

A member's grades can only be changed once we receive approval from the region and also receive an application from the members club.  A fee applies for a change of grade application received outside of the member's initial registration each year.  Applications can only be submitted via www.airc.ie/shop.

If you wish to change a member's grade at the point of annual registration, you must include a brief note when renewing their membership to include their new grades otherwise the membership will be renewed, as was, and a fee will apply for any changes thereafter.