British trio to clock up their air miles

Three members of the British Olympic team - John Whitaker, Nick Skelton and Geoff Billington - will be commuting between The Horse of the Year Show at Wembley and Paul Schockemohle's show at Bremen in Germany at the end of the week.

A private plane has been booked to fly the British trio from Luton to Bremen on Thursday and Sunday mornings, returning the same day for the big evening classes at Wembley.

When the initial arrangements were made, the Golden Saddle Grand Prix at Wembley was the last competition on Sunday evening. It has since been moved to the start of the evening programme which, according to Whitaker, will "make the timing a bit tight".

Whitaker and Billington will have their Olympic mounts, Welham and It's Otto, in Bremen. Skelton will have Dollar Girl, the mare he rode into third place in this year's Volvo World Cup final. There was no agonising over the decision. The top prize at Wembley is pounds 7,500 - compared with pounds 40,000 at Bremen, which is where the top horses will obviously be.

The great efforts to recapture the popularity of the Wembley show, which begins its five-day run this morning, should nevertheless pay worthwhile dividends. The Cadre Noir, the French National School of Equitation, will be giving their wonderful displays of classical riding on the last three days of the show. There will also be a qualifier for the Volvo World Cup Dressage, a freestyle to music contest, on Sunday.

The organisers are hoping that improved facilities and presentation will help them to attract a major sponsor, which would then make it possible to increase the show jumping prizes. The show already has a new date for next year: it will run from 24 to 28 September to avoid another clash with Bremen.

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