Carl Hester (pictured) and Fiona Bigwood have joined the World Class Performance Plan (WCPP) dressage squad. This will give them access to funding for training and travel, as well as the back up of the WCPP sports science, medical and veterinary teams.

Chairman of selectors, David Trott said: “We are delighted to be able to invite Carl and Fiona to take up places on the WCPP. They have had excellent results this year and have shown that their current horses are capable of producing very good performances.

“To give the top British combinations the best chance of producing top performances we will have to review our plans constantly and the focus must be the European Dressage Championships and subsequently the Athens Olympic Games.”

Fiona, 27, was a member of the junior and young riderEuropean Championship teams before having considerable success in senior international competitions.

She has been based with trainer Dieter Laugks in Germany since 1999 and has recently returned to international competition, scoring 68.8% atStadl Paura CDI in Austria last weekend.

Carl, 35, is one of Britain’s most seasoned competitors, having won over 30 National titles. He represented Great Britain in the first World Equestrian Games in 1990 and has since been a member of three European Championship and two Olympic Games teams.

In the Spanish Sunshine Tour CDI’s Carl enjoyed five wins at Grand Prix level, with scores of up to 72.69%.

All six WCPP dressage squad riders will be competing at the Addington Manor Premier League show (9-11 May). The shortlist for the European Championship team will be announced following Aachen CDIO and Hartpury Premier League on 30 June.