Do you think you have what it takes to be a future Olympic rider?

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) is inviting riders aged 14-30, who think they do, to apply to join the World Class Development Programme (WCDP).

Applications for the 2011-2012 programme opened on 30 January and riders have until 16 March to apply.

“We want the aspiring William Fox-Pitts, John Whitakers, Carl Hesters and Lee Pearsons out there to get in touch with us,” said World Class Performance director Will Connell.

“It’s all about focusing on those with the potential to be the very best.”

The BEF will receive £13,382,100 from UK Sport from 2009-2013 to fund the World Class programme, of which development is the section for young riders.

Selections to the development squad take place every two years and this year the process is slightly different.

“Riders do not have to attain the selection criteria until 16 August and will be assessed at specific competitions. We shall watch them and then invite them to a selection day,” said Mr Connell.

Show jumper Matt Sampson, 20, joined the WCDP in 2004. He said: “It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

For more information about the scheme and the selection criteria, go to www.bef.co.uk

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (4 February, ’10)