Riders to test new selection process

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A new method of picking the senior Great Britain show jumping team comes into effect this year with the introduction of four international team trials from which the best three horse and rider combinations will automatically be included in the squad. The selectors will pick only two of the five squad members, from which four will be named for the team.

The new system has been devised by the International Affairs Committee of the British Show Jumping Association, which is chaired by Malcolm Pyrah. It was prompted, according to Pyrah, by "dissent among the riders, who thought selection was a closed shop".

It is quite likely, of course, that the Olympic quartet (the Whitaker brothers, Nick Skelton and Geoff Billington) will still form the team for the European Championships at Mannheim in August. But whatever the outcome, the new trials - at Windsor, two of the Hickstead meetings and the New Forest show - are bound to inject some welcome excitement into the home circuit.

INTERNATIONAL TEAM SHOW JUMPING TRIALS: Royal Windsor Horse Show (14- 18 May); Nations' Cup (Hickstead, 29 May - 1 June); Royal International Horse Show (Hickstead, 10-13 July); New Forest and Hampshire County Show (Brockenhurst, 29-31 July).