John Whitaker MBE

John Whitaker MBE

Discipline: Showjumping

Part of the illustrious Whitaker Showjumping dynasty John Whitaker has enjoyed success across four decades. He has competed at World and European Championships as well as the Olympic Games.  

John is one of the world’s most respected and renown riders and has represented Great Britain at six Olympic Games (one alternative), four World Championships and eleven European Championships. He has also won the King George V Gold Cup three times and the Hickstead Derby four.  He has four European Gold medals, six Silver and three Bronze; three World Championship Bronze medals and two Silvers, as well as one Olympic Silver.

John was just 18 when he first partnered Ryan’s Son, a horse with just 50p on his card when he went to John, launching John’s International career, the pair formed a partnership which was to last 14 years, the highlight of which was winning a Team Silver Medal at the Los Angeles Olympic Games.  John is probably is best known for his partnership with the horse Milton which started in 1985, their first major win the Du Maurier Grand Prix in Spruce Meadows, Calgary came in 1986.  Milton went on to become the first horse outside the racing world to win more than £1 million in prize money. John retired Everest Milton at the 1994 Olympia Horse Show. 

In 1998 John was Leading Rider at the Volvo World Cup Final in Helsinki, he won the first two legs of the World Cup on the gallant 19-year-old Virtual Village Grannusch, also in 1998, John won the Peugeot Derby at Hickstead on Gammon who at 21 is the oldest horse to have won the Derby.  In 1999 John won the British Grand Prix at Hickstead and in 2000 the Hickstead Derby riding Virtual Village Welham who was retired at the 2001 Derby Meeting.  A chance ride on Douglas Bunn’s Buddy Bunn, due to William Funnell’s injury, gave John his fourth Derby Victory in 2004.

Outside of horses John has a passion for his cattle and it isn’t unknown for one of them to be seen poking their head over a stable door on the yard.

Major Achievements: Total Medals = 25; Total Nation Cups =183

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