Three hundred potential eventing stars have been dropped from the British Equestrian Federation’s (BEF) World Class Programme’s Equine Pathway and a further 150 dressage and show jumpers could also lose places in a wholesale re-evaluation of horsepower for 2012.

New criteria now places a greater emphasis on dressage and show jumping performance for the event horses.

Paul Graham, international and teams liaison manager for British Eventing (BE), told H&H: “The standard across the globe is continually increasing. We have to keep raising the bar otherwise the hunger to improve can disappear.”

The changes mean 300 horses who gained places on the pathway over the past two years have been deselected and the updated selection criteria will be applied to the 14,500 horses currently registered with BE.

So far 103 have been selected for the new pathway, with more to be added throughout the year.

British Dressage (BD) and British Show Jumping Association (BSJA) selectors are about to undergo the same process.

David Trott, who is responsible for the BD pathway, said it was too early to reveal the criteria for dressage selection and whether the 25 horses currently on the scheme would stay on.

“I am having a meeting with the BEF in January when we shall discuss this,” he told H&H.

But Anna Greenway, BEF communications manager, told H&H: “The dressage pathway is being reviewed to focus on horses who can score — in the future — 68 per cent-plus in a grand prix.”

And Derek Ricketts, BSJA performance manager, explained: “We are only looking for horses capable of Nations Cup and, ultimately, the Olympics.

“There are about 120 on the pathway at present but we are looking to reduce that number a little so we can focus on offering the best guidance to our riders.”

Miss Greenway added: “This is not just for 2012 — it is designed as a long-term pathway which we hope will be sustainable beyond.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (18 December, ’08)