The British Equestrian Federation has selected a number of riders with the potential to represent Britain at future Olympic Games to receive support through its World Class Start and Potential programmes over the next two years.
The World Class Start and Potential programme is open to riders aged 14 to 30 and establishes a development pathway for these athletes to progress onto the Olympic Performance squads in 2008, 2012 and beyond. The funding structure is split into gold, silver and bronze levels within each programme.
Anne-Marie Perry heads the dressage start riders and will receive gold level funding, while Henry Boswell, Natalie Allen, Lara Griffith and Charlie Hutton will enjoy silver level support. The potential squad has no gold riders this time, but Sarah Millis, Becky Moody, Simone Ward, Andrew Gould and Lisa Hopkins will all receive silver level funding. Darryl Thickitt has been named as a bronze level rider.
James Billington, Chris Frazer and Gemma Paternoster lead the show jumping start squad with gold level support. Hannah Paul, Jemma Kirk, Louise Saywell, William Whitaker and Stuart Neads are all silver level riders. The jumping potential squad sees gold support for Ben Maher and Robert Whitaker. Silver funding goes to Paul Barker, Richard Robinson, Charlotte Platt and Jackson Reed-Stephenson, while Lee Williams is a bronze rider.
In eventing Gemma Tattersall heads the start squad as the only gold rider. Laura Collett, Ben Hobday, Georgie Spence, Amy Young and Izzy Taylor each receive silver level support. The potential squad has three gold riders: Cressida Clague-Reading, Lucy Wiegersma and Ruth Edge. Silver funding has been awarded to Abigail Walters, Kitty Boggis, Piggy French and Laurence Hunt.
The paralympic dressage start squad sees silver funding for Alex McNamara, Erin Orford and Natalie Povey, while Daniel Manning gets bronze level support. The potential squad is headed by gold level rider Denise Shawns. Silver level support is available for Emma Sheardown, Sophie Wells, Emma Kent, Natasha Baker and David Herron, while Felicity Coulthard is a bronze level rider.
Several pony riders have been selected onto the Pre-Start programme, including Matthew Sampson, Daniel Neilson and Jason Smith (jumping); Sienna Myson-Davies, Libby Soley, Chole Kirkpatrick and Eleanor Barnes-Graham (eventing); and Anna Gill and Stephen Wagland (para dressage). They will be invited to attend a couple of squad sessions to introduce them to the World Class system, although they will not receive any funding.
A number of training grants were also awarded this year to riders who the selectors felt justified financial support, despite not being selected onto the programme. They include Sophie Tobin and Chris Smith (jumping), and Emily Chandler and Jade Lazenby (eventing).
Vikki Underwood, World Class Development Manager said: “This year’s selection trials were a great success and overall the standard of riding was much higher than in previous years — particularly in show jumping. A number of riders who were part of the 2006 programme have been re-selected, which highlights that the structure and training offered by World Class is successful and effective, but excitingly, some new faces have appeared indicating that the selection process continues to be consistent and fair.”