This year’s Olympia boasts a stellar line-up — with 3 world number ones for the first time in the show’s history — but some familiar faces will be absent.
Show director Simon Brooks-Ward said he was “delighted” with the line-up, which includes the top 3 showjumpers in the world.
Scott Brash will be joined by his European and Olympic teammate Ben Maher and German legend Ludger Beerbaum, who returns to the CSI5* show after a break of several years.
But the decision by Olympia organisers to allocate places based on the FEI rankings this year — rather than British Showjumping’s combined rankings has left some riders and showjumping fans disappointed.
FEI rankings points are accrued by international results, meaning that Olympia stalwart Tina Fletcher and Hickstead Derby winner Phillip Miller — who compete largely on the national circuit — miss out.
“I’m disappointed that they’ve decided to do it on that system,” Tina told H&H. “It’s a shame for British riders who do national shows.”
Nigel Eccles, owner of Phillip Miller’s Derby ride, Caritiar Z, told H&H that Phillip and “Carter” had worked “extremely hard on the county show circuit”.
He added: “We haven’t had massive resources to base them on the Continent.”
Simon Brooks-Ward told H&H: “It is tough and I can understand where they are coming from.
“British Showjumping recommended that we take the FEI ranking list for the Olympia qualification. We agreed that it gave us the best UK riders in our opinion.
He added: “We like to see proven ability in an indoor arena competing against the peer group they’d find at Olympia.”
London 2012 gold medallist Peter Charles would also miss out through the FEI rankings — but will be at Olympia as the Olympic and European showjumping teams have been invited.
This story first appeared in H&H magazine (12 December 2013 edition).