There will be no team representation for Great Britain at the imminent European Championships in Gothenburg following the decision of the British Equestrian Federation to send just two competitors to the event, it was announced today.

A BEF statement said the decision was made taking into account both available equine talent and longer term performance objectives. “The selectors went through a robust process, based on performance data and discussions with athletes and owners from the nominated entries list,” said Gordon Burton, BEF’s Performance Director. “The selectors concluded that in this transitional period for showjumping, it is in the best longer-term interests of our less experienced equine athletes to take what we know is an unusual approach. Equine form is dynamic and we want to balance our championship and Nations Cup team delivery to best effect, while managing the exciting equine talent we have for the future.”

The British team was relegated last year from the elite Europe Division 1 league after an indifferent campaign which culminated in a remarkable collapse in their home nations cup at Hickstead.

The team has been less than impressive in Europe Division 2 this year and has failed to secure the automatic promotion place that goes with winning the lower division, in which top spot has been won convincingly by Belgium. There is, however, still the possibility of promotion, with one league fixture to be contested. “We would be kidding ourselves to say that we have been satisfied with our Nations Cup team performances this year,” said team manager Di Lampard. “Like many sports, showjumping has changed massively in the past two years and we need to balance the individual objectives of riders alongside those of our national championship campaigns, especially in the first year of an Olympic cycle, which is always more of a transitional period.”

Michael Whitaker and William Whitaker will compete in Gothenburg with Viking and Utamaro D’Ecaussines respectively.

Great Britain have a team in Dublin for this week’s Nations Cup, but are not competing for points in what is the final Europe Division 1 fixture.

Mike Dunne