A new format for the selection process for 2006-8 World Class Start and Potential programmes is to be implemented this year. ‘Viewing Days’ will now take place at events throughout the season prior to the selection trials in November 2006. Riders who are aged between 14 and 30 (on first application) and who think they have the talent and dedication to win at Olympic level in 2008 and 2012, can be assessed by selectors at ‘viewing’ competitions.

The programmes provide Britain’s elite riders with financial support and individual expert advice and tuition. The World Class Start programme (riders aged 14-20) is designed to support talent identification, and nurturing of that talent and the World Class Potential programme (riders aged 20-30) is designed to assist in the development of that talent. ‘Viewing days’ will enable potential recruits to be assessed in a competitive environment.

To be part of either programme all the riders not only have to show outstanding horsemanship, but also are subject to a 20-minute interview that will aim to identify his or her goals, ambition, technical knowledge and motivations.

This year, the lottery funded programmes will be run through UK Sport, rather than Sport England. The new system will put the Start and Potential programme more in line with UK Sport’s World Class Performance programme, designed to provide horse and rider with all the necessary elements to perform and win at the highest level.

Based on a template that has been successful for other Olympic sports such as rowing, the World Class programme has revolutionised the approach to human and equine sports science and given riders expert help in fitness, nutrition, sports psychology and top coaching.

To apply for the World Class Start and Potential programmes, riders must submit an application form, including references, a minimum of two weeks prior to a viewing competition. If successful, they will then be invited to viewing trials and a final selection trial in November.

Applicants are required to meet a minimum criteria, which can be found on the BEF website. Riders who have been selected to ride for Great Britain at Pony, Junior, Young Rider or Senior level, and those already on the World Class Start & Potential programme will not be required to apply for assessment at these events.

For further details about the viewing days and where they are to be held, and to download an application form go to the BEF webstite at www.bef.co.uk.

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