FORMER world number one Scott Brash says "things have to happen" if Great Britain are to reclaim a place at world showjumping's top table.

The Peebles showjumper, who helped Britain win London 2012 team gold, finished second in the Longines FEI World Cup at Olympia's London International Horse Show on Sunday.

France's Julien Epaillard beat him by 43 hundredths of a second in a pulsating jump-off, preventing Brash from becoming only the London World Cup's third back-to-back winner in its 38-year history after Nick Skelton and John Whitaker.

Brash, who collected £28,000 for his efforts, can reflect on a year that saw him win the London Global Champions Tour leg in August, take third in a memorable Royal Windsor Grand Prix and second at Olympia.

Collectively, though, it was not a great year for Britain, which was highlighted by the decision not to send a team to the European Championships in Sweden four months ago.

Britain were 2013 European team gold medallists.

Scott said: "It's good to put it (Sweden) behind us, but we have to learn from it.

"We need a stronger squad, we need more horses and rider combinations, we need to improve as a nation.

"Things have to happen, and a few changes and things. We have to improve, but every nation goes through a bit of a bad period.

"Germany went through a bad period a few years ago, and I think it is times like this you have all got to get together and build for the future.

"I want to win more medals for my country, go to the Olympics and do these things.

"But I also understand how much it takes. You need to have a top horse, you need to be in top form and injury-free, which we haven't been this year, but also there have to be more riders coming through."

Only four combinations from 36 starters made it through the first round of a course brilliantly designed by Rio Olympics' showjumping mastermind Guilherme Jorge, with Brash, Epaillard, Australian Edwina Tops-Alexander and Sweden's reigning European individual champion Peder Fredricson returning for a memorable finale.

Fredricson and Tops-Alexander clocked 41.34 and 41.05 seconds respectively, but Brash then guided 16-year-old Ursula XII home in 37.34 seconds, before Epaillard triumphed aboard Toupie de la Roque to become a first French World Cup winner in London since 1985.

"I just did the best round I could do," Brash added.

"I knew Julien was behind me and he would be fast, so I tried to keep everything as smooth, careful and tight as it could be.

"It was fingers crossed that it was going to be enough, but it just wasn't to be. I know Julien very well, and I know how fast he is.

"Quite often, us riders are complaining there are too many clear rounds, and the jump-offs are so fast. There has to be a bit of a variety, and to only have four clears today was pretty good.

"There were fences going down all over the course. It was a delicate course, but fair. It was well thought-out."