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The World Class Programme is designed to provide a targeted approach to athletes demonstrating high potential in the equestrian Olympic and Paralympic sports, by offering the right support and environment to enable them to realise their medal winning potential. 

Athletes on the World Class Programme have access to a wide range of specialist human and equine practitioners, including…

  • international coaches
  • human sport science and medicine practitioners, such as physiotherapists and psychologists
  • equine sport science and medicine practitioners, such as farriers, saddlers, vets and equine physiotherapists

A World Class Performance Manager leads the Programme for each discipline, while a Performance Director provides cross-discipline guidance. This is based around the principle of providing a professional management team, veterinary support and education, coaching and competition management. Training camps are used to develop a team atmosphere and deliver coaching support, but coaching and veterinary monitoring is also delivered at competitions and at the rider's home yard on a one-to one basis in partnership with their home team.

The programme is broken down into four tiers…

  • Podium
  • Podium Pathway
  • Podium Potential
  • Podium Potential Pathway


Keyword: Delivering

Podium exists to provide our future medal winning riders athletes with realistic medal winning capabilities at the next Olympic/Paralympic Games with the best possible preparation to represent Great Britain on teams at World and European Championships, and at Olympic and Paralympic level, in eventing, dressage, showjumping and para dressage. Riders on this level of the programme have previously won medals for their country at senior championship, Olympic or Paralympic level.

Podium athletes are eligible to receive a means-tested allowance, known as an Athlete Performance Allowance Award (APA), direct from UK Sport. In addition, there is a process by which they can gain performance targeted support through the World Class Programme towards their coaching, travel, entry fees and veterinary fees.

If it’s felt that a certain performance element will provide an advantage at a competition, the Programme will ensure that it’s in place. This includes a central logistical and management back-up team with the financial freedom to visit championship venues before the competition starts and to ensure that a robust logistical plan is put in place for the British teams. The championship teams are fully funded by the World Class Programme. 

Podium Pathway

Keyword: Transitioning

Podium Pathway is a recent edition to the programme and acts as the transition programme between Podium Potential and Podium. Athletes on this tier of the programme haven’t yet won a senior championship medal, but performance profiling indicates that they have the capacity as an athlete/horse combination to do so in the near future.

Athletes on the Podium Pathway receive an Athlete Performance Allowance Award (APA) from UK Sport and access to a wide range of coaching, human sport science and equine sport science resources. Targeted support is provided when required to help these athletes transition to the Podium level by achieving senior championship selection and medal-winning success.

Podium Potential

Keyword: Campaigning

The object of Podium Potential is to identify, support and develop athlete/horse combinations whose performances suggest that they have realistic medal winning capabilities at the subsequent Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Podium Potential provides an established training pathway and is structured in such a way to facilitate a combination’s development and progression, with the objective to identify, support and develop the athlete/horse partnerships to help optimise their performances at future senior championship level.

Selection for the World Class Podium, Podium Pathway and Podium Potential programmes is based on past and present results, combined with the rider and horse combination’s potential to contribute to team success at major senior championships in the near future.

The squads are selected following discussions between the Discipline Selectors, World Class Performance Managers and the Performance Director. Athletes are reviewed as a minimum on a six-monthly basis, at which point targets, support provision and funding are agreed. Nominations for these programmes are made to UK Sport annually.

Podium Potential Pathway

Keyword: Developing

The objective of Podium Potential Pathway is to identify, support and develop younger athletes who demonstrate the potential to progress to Podium Potential level in the future. Funded by UK Sport and Sport England, this tier of the programme is focused on education and development of the foundation skills required for future performance, and acts as a transitional level to help athletes from the entry level, national youth programmes and those who have progressed to senior level, to filter through into the higher level programmes.

Those athletes within Podium Potential Pathway who achieve the top-level performance standard may be eligible for an Athlete Performance Award (APA) from UK Sport, which would give them access to the wider programme support available to those who receive UK Sport funding.