Are you talking about the stadium jumping round at an eventing horse trials? I'm assuming this because you said it was BN (beginner novice is what I'm assuming?).
When I compete I generally trot in, start making a nice tour of the ring and nod as I pass the judge. Sometimes they whistle or bell to start before I ever do that. It really depends on the show. For the most part, though, it's not really necessary at a horse trials.
In any show jumping, be it eventing or just normal jumping, you MUST salute the judges. It's just plain respectful. You enter the ring, salute and start your canter circle. I can't not enter a jumping arena and not salute. I always thank the judges and pencilers after my round, but that's just me.
I do not think you will get eliminated for not doing it, but when I enter the ring, I always pick up a trot, look at the judge and nod my head. You don't have to do like a formal salute with arm down like in dressage. Just a nod of the head. Even if a salute is not required, it is still good to let the judge know you a ready to go. Also beginner novice is ALWAYS timed. Sometimes at schooling shows the starter levels won't be timed, or if they do time it, it doesn't affect your school (no optimum time). That said, I have trotted an entire BN stadium course (green horse) and never got time penalties. The stadium time for BN is pretty generous. If you just go at a nice, steady canter, you will definitely make time.
Thanks EquineEventer! Good to know I wont be penalized. I don't think I will have a hard time getting her to go fast though, she's a rocket!
Thanks to everyone who has replied, and wish me luck at my first BN event!!
You will NOT be penalized for not saluting. Especially in lower levels (well, mainly BN) judges do not require that you salute because many people simply do not know. I doubt that you will go to a horse trial where you see many BN people saluting. I learned this from my trainer, who is an extremely experienced eventer and has shown both in North America and the UK.
Also, no canter circle is ever required. Do what is best for your horse.