The selection process for the 2005 to 2008 World Class Start and Potential programme will follow a new format this year, with aspiring Olympic riders being given the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in front of a selection panel at a viewing day for the first time.

The scheme aims to recognise riders who have the exceptional talent and dedication required to ride and win at future Olympic and Paralympic Games, specifically in 2008 or 2012. Riders who are accepted on to the scheme will then receive support and training to help them fulfil their medal winning potential.

The new viewing days will encompass all of the World Class Start and Potential disciplines — dressage, eventing, show jumping and paralympic dressage — and will cost £25 per rider to attend. Riders will have the opportunity to attend presentations by World Class support staff during the day.

The top 50 eligible riders who apply to the programme, excluding current squad members, will be selected to attend the viewing day based on their initial application form and references. Between 10 and 20 riders from each discipline will then be selected to go forward to the final selection trials.

Vikki Underwood, World Class Start and Potential Manager says: “I believe this new format to the selection trials will help to identify more of Great Britain’s aspiring young riders.”

Under the current format of the World Class Start and Potential programme, 2005 will be the only time during the next four years that selection trials for the squads will take place, with regular monitoring and evaluating of the riders on the programme replacing the trials in the run up to the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

However, riders who aren’t selected through the trial system will be still able to join the World Class programme during the next four years if they achieve consistently good competition results, according to the BEF. A talent spotting system is also being set up to ensure the scheme does not miss any up-and-coming riders with Olympic potential.

Initial application forms for the programme must be received by the BEF by 10 December. For more details of the new format, application forms and confirmation of dates and venues visit the BEF website: www.bef.co.uk