Around 130 event horses with Olympic potential have been selected to join the World Class Equine Pathway.

Launched last autumn, the initiative is funded by UK Sport Lottery money and run by the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), and provides support and advice for connections of horses considered possible candidates for the 2012 Olympics.

“The programme is about identifying, developing and delivering world-class performance,” said the BEF’s Will Connell.

The selected horses are being invited to special training sessions over the winter, held by British Eventing. Connections will be given advice on training, shoeing, feeding and so on.

British Eventing performance manager Yogi Breisner (pictured) identified horses for inclusion in the scheme by analysing the type of horse currently winning medals and looking at what they were doing six years ago. He then cast around for horses at that stage right now.

“I looked not so much at their breeding, but their education,” explained Yogi.

To remain on the Equine Pathway, horses must continue progressing, while new horses may join the scheme at a later date if they produce the right results.

“In eventing, we need a large base of horses for the scheme because we have to look at average performance over all three phases, and because the demands of the sport mean some horses might not get there through injury,” explained Yogi.

  • This news report was first published in Horse & Hound (1 February, ’07)