It's that time of year again when BE publish the final point based standings for the season. Check them out here. You'll notice fairly promptly that Andrew Nicholson (the leader) has well over 2000 points whereas down in 70th you're looking at about 150 points. That's a gargantuan difference in points- I'm thinking like...super human?!
Another interesting point is the difference and in some cases similarities between the grassroots riders foundation points table and the overall riders table for foundation points. BE created a separate Grassroots table to give amateurs a chance against the 'pro's'... The thing is though, the so called amateurs really aren't that far behind the "pro's", give or take 20 points. Bear in mind 20 points is only 2 PN wins. So was it really worth splitting everything up?
Someone said to me that they simply didn't stand a chance against the "pro's" for want of a better word. Is that really the case? The tables don't suggest it or if they do it's a matter of a few wins either side. When you're talking about 100 points plus that's not much of a difference. Perhaps the real reasoning behind the so called gap is quality of horses or standard of riding - should we have BE100rich and BE100poor now?
Looking at both sides of the argument - to split or not to split it seems both sides of the argument have strong points but the difficult task is to distinguish the factors that can't make this decision - you can't have BErich and poor based on how much a horse cost someone. Whatsmore, there's so much more to producing horses. It's also worth remembering that horses are the best levellers in the world - they really don't care whether they sleep in brand new luxury stables or in a converted cow shed. As long as they're fed, warm and dry etc they're happy so perhaps the pro - am gap is less of a big deal. Plus, if you keep thinking that any psychologist will tell you you're on the right tracks.
Lets look higher up the levels to the likes of * and **. Forgive me for not including **** in that but the number of amateurs competing at that level is quite low (sorry guys). Perhaps the definition of amateur needs changing? "Grassroots" only goes up to PN so once you're above that everyone's in the same boat. The trouble in splitting amateurs off at the higher levels is that it's terribly difficult to define an 'amateur' and a 'professional'. Plus, there's also evidence that the higher up the levels you go the less desire there is for a split. Personally I think a split would take something away from eventing. Knowing where you stand in terms of the entire sport is no bad thing although I can't stand it when people say "oh, I've beaten so and so who went round Badminton last month". Nooo! You're allowed to think that but it makes you sound so silly!
So for now I think we've got it right. A split lower down gives people a chance and higher up you're put in your place. Plus, does it not mean so much more to come 10th in a proper Novice than come 5th in a protected amateurs Novice should it ever exist.
Strangely enough the publication of the top 100 usually signals the time when most stores unleash the Christmas Demon of tinsle adorned doors and elves in the fruit aisle a few weeks prematurely. Equishopping's holding on until December but if you're after an early bargain check out our bargain page. Can you imagine having your christmas shopping done before the mad rush in the week before christmas? Sounds good...