Talented young riders are invited to apply for charity funding to help them get a step ahead.

The charity SportsAid gives financial support to young sports stars of the future and has been running for nearly 30 years.

SportsAid is open to show jumpers, dressage and event riders as well as para dressage riders. Grants vary between £500 and £1,000.

In 2007/8 SportsAid supported over 50 riders. The grants have been used to benefit the riders in a range of ways – including rider and horse equipment, competition entry fees and training.

To qualify for a SportsAid award riders must be aged between 12 and 18 — or up to 25 for para dressage riders — and living and training in England. And applicants must also not be earning more than £8,000 per annum or be receiving any other funding.

Applications must be made by 30 October.

All riders must reach a minimum competitive criteria depending on their discipline.

For dressage this is International Equestrian Federation (FEI) level junior/pony training squad.

In eventing they must be long listed for the pony/junior European championship team.

Show jumpers must be long listed for the pony/junior rider European championship squad, Home Pony International team or Children on Horses team.

And for para dressage they must be consistently achieving a minimun of 60% at both British Dressage national competitions and talent spotting.

Hopefuls must also have their applications endorsed by both a discipline representative and a SportsAid manager — who can be contacted through the BEF.

For more information visit ww.bef.co.uk or email: sarah.armstrong@bef.co.uk