British Eventing has simplified its ballot system for international competitions to ensure in-form combinations get preference and to prevent riders from being restricted to competing just one horse.

From 2005, balloting for any foreign event that restricts the number of British entries — except Championships and test events for Championships — will be based on the number of BE points that each horse has gained during the last two years. Horses that have started a CCI in the previous seven weeks will be balloted first.

BE adopted the new procedure to make balloting more transparent, according to spokeswoman Winnie Murphy. “Before, people were always quite sceptical about how it was done. Now it is done on points so there is no room for manoeuvre. It is much more straightforward and clear for all to see because anyone can look up the points of a horse.”

The points system has the added advantage that it will ballot in the best horses. “It ensures that the horse with the best current form goes abroad,” says Murphy. “And the best way to keep on winning is to send out the best horses.”

It also means that riders will not be restricted to one horse, because each of their mounts will be judged on its own merit. “We try to give as many people a chance to go as possible,” says Murphy, who is confident that the feedback to the new system “will be very positive.”

BE and the senior selection committee will “reserve the right to withhold permission for any competitor going abroad.” The senior selection committee may also allow a horse and rider combination to compete, even if they have been balloted out, and may require a horse and rider to have another run or a cross-country school if they have been eliminated for three refusals, or fell in a competition, after the nominated entries have gone in.

The committee will also continue to select British representatives for championships and test events for championships and will determine who will be part of the British team if there is a team competition at any international event.

Obviously riders and owners can take part in any unrestricted international event so long as their horses are qualified to a level appropriate to the competition.

The points system explained

1) CCI****

Balloting will be based on any BE points a horse has gained in CCI*** and **** and CIC***, and the Open Championship at Gatcombe in the last two years.

2) CCI*** and CIC***

Balloting will be based on any BE points a horse has gained in CCI**, *** and **** and CIC** and ***, and the Open Championship at Gatcombe in the last two years.

3) CCI** and CIC**

Balloting will be based on any BE points a horse has gained in the last two years.