Option Fences Explained for the 2019 National Minimus Championships

The Tetrathlon Committee would ask Branch DCs and Minimus or Tetrathlon Trainers to ensure that all members taking part in the National Minimus and Tetrathlon Championships and their parents become familiar with and encourage the use of the Option fences especially for the newer younger riders going out cross country.

Option fences have been incorporated into the cross country courses for Minimus and Tetrathlon for a couple of specific reasons.

  • To help inexperienced and or young IPC riders and teams to successfully complete the cross country course.
  • To help riders to complete the cross country course as safely and quickly as possible while not blocking up the course for other Branch team members and competitors.

The Option fences were introduced in 2016 in response to feedback.  However they have not always been fully utilized because of the lack of understanding and the reason for having them at local level by parents, trainers and committee members.

Option fences will be numbered the same as the fence it is beside but with an O beside the number.  It will be of a lesser height and more encouraging to jump, to allow members to move forward on the course. The penalty for taking the option is 70 penalties this year.

The following is an excerpt from the Tetrathlon Rule Book highlights the details of the Option Rule.

“All competitors will have the option of jumping an option (O) at difficult fences. Should a competitor decide to take the O option, a 70-point penalty will occur. A competitor may jump the O option after unsuccessfully attempting the main obstacle. Should a competitor first try the main fence, have a refusal and then go on to jump the O option fence, the penalty incurred will be 130 points (60 for the refusal and 70 for the O option). Three refusals at either the O or main obstacle will incur the 250-point penalty (60 + 90 + 100) and the competitor will be asked to move on.”

The Tetrathlon committee have prepared a couple of examples to help explain how the scoring can be managed using the Option fences to best effect to get the best score for the cross country riding phase.

(Selecting the Option fence incurs 70 penalties, a first refusal incurs 60 penalties, second refusal incurs 90 penalties and a third refusal incurs 100 penalties).

  • If a rider selected the Option fence at the 5 toughest fences on the course, they would incur 5 x 70 penalties, totalling 350 penalties. In total that rider would get 1,050 points for their cross country phase (1,400 – 350).
  • In contrast if the same rider had three refusals at either the main obstacle or the option, they would incur 250 penalties at just one obstacle (60 + 90 + 100) and be asked to move on to the next fence with the potential for further penalties.
  • In the case where a rider wishes to attempt the main obstacle once and incurs a refusal, it is often their best option to attempt the Option fence next.  This will incur a penalty of 130 (60 + 70) rather than the higher penalties which would be incurred for a second and or a third refusal at the main obstacle (250 penalties).
  • A second refusal at the main obstacle followed by the rider taking the option fence would incur 220 penalties (60 + 90 +70).
  • Three refusals at any combination of the main obstacle or Option fence and the competitor will be asked to move onto the next fence.

It is very important that Branch Officials, trainers and parents take this opportunity to understand the benefits of the Option fence.  Please share this information with the members of your Branch and encourage everyone to consider the use of the option fences at the 2019 championships. 

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