Michael Whitaker can be selected to ride for Britain again, following a successful appeal to the British Olympic Association (BOA).

Last year, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) banned Michael from competition for four months after his horse Tackeray tested positive for a prohibited substance at La Baule, France, in June 2009.

As a result, under BOA rules, the showjumper was automatically excluded from riding for Team GB at future Olympic Games.

But at a hearing last week, the BOA appeals panel ruled there were “significant mitigating circumstances” surrounding the offence.

The panel also found that there was “no reasonable basis for concluding that Whitaker (or his groom) deliberately administered the prohibited substance”.

I’m really pleased with the result,” Michael told H&H. “We left the appeal not knowing which way it was going to go, so it is a relief.

“I’ve got a couple of good horses, Amai and Rockim, who I’ll be aiming for 2012.”

It was a great birthday present for Michael who turns 50 today (17 March).

The rider told H&H he intends to spend the day with his family.

“I think the kids have something planned,” he said.