Changes to the qualification rules for the Accenture Young Show Jumper of the Year competition at Olympia have been the cause of disappointment.

Previously the British Show Jumping Association (BSJA) held 10 qualifiers at county shows, with 20 riders going forward to Olympia.

However, the BSJA and Olympia have agreed that now the top 20 riders on the young rider rankings list will qualify.

BSJA area head of training for Essex John Taylor, whose son Bill came 10th in 2007, is angry about the changes which he says disqualify those riders the class was created for — the under-21 amateurs.

“The class was aimed at a young person with a self-produced horse, jumping at grade C or B, without the benefit of a string of expensive show jumpers,” he said.

“Now, riders like my son, who have just the one horse, cannot hope to get on to the young rider rankings.”

He said the entire spirit of the competition has changed and claims the BSJA has made the change in an underhand way.

Another young rider, Michael Potter, who came seventh in 2004 and third in 2005, said: “Olympia was a big thing for me and having a class like this there, where you could do it with just one good horse, made it possible.”

Mike Florence, chef d’equipe of the GB junior and young rider teams, said: “With 2012 in mind, a decision was made this year that we must give our potential British team athletes the best opportunity of competition experience at high-profile shows.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (20 March, ’08)