Maria Eilberg has ridden internationally in dressage from ponies through juniors and now young riders, and is the daughter of Ferdi Eilberg

Who in the equestrian world deserves a particular present this Christmas? What would it be and why?

If I had the money, I would buy my brother Michael, who is a show jumper, a car. He’s recently passed his test and I haven’t seen my car since!

What’s the best horsey present you’ve received?

That would be the Really Nasty Horseracing board game. We bring it out every year. My Dad hates it as no one can ever remember the rules and we all end up arguing, but despite that it’s a lot of fun.

What’s the best non-horsey present you’ve received?

A skiing holiday in Austria, stopping off to see my grandparents on the way. I don’t see them very often and I really enjoy skiing. It’s nice to have a break before the competition season kicks off again.

What would you like to receive this year?

I’d love Santa to drop off a smart new horsebox, complete with a power shower and loo. I am planning to compete in my first senior internationals this winter and our lorry is getting a bit past it.

On a more realistic note, I’d like Dad to build me some rosette cases, as I keep all my rosettes and at the moment they hang from the ceiling in my room, making it even harder to get into. Any CDs and DVDs are also always welcome.

Where and when do you tend to do your Christmas shopping?

I’ll probably visit the new Bullring Centre in Birmingham to do my Christmas shopping one Monday, which is generally our rest day. It’s a great shopping centre and fortunately only 20min away.

At 18, Ellen Whitaker is already the leading British lady show jumper, and this year jumped one of only two clear rounds in the Hickstead Derby

Who in the equestrian world deserves a particular present this Christmas? What would it be and why?

I’d like to buy my grandad some new ears, eyes, limbs, lungs and legs — because he really needs them.

What’s the best horsey present you’ve received?

My dad, Steven, and his business partner, Julian Donn, bought Lacarno 62 for me at Paul Schockemöhle’s PSI sale. He’s undoubtedly the best present I’ve received.

What’s the best non-horsey present you’ve received?

My parents bought me a diamond ring and it’s absolutely lovely. I’m terrible with jewellery and I always lose things. But I look after this ring really well. I never take it off, even when riding.

What would you like to receive this year?

A win at Olympia would definitely be the best thing that could happen this Christmas. It’s not definite yet, but I’m planning to take Lacarno and Kanselier, and I’ve got a new horse coming for the puissance, so I’m hoping he arrives in time.

Where and when do you tend to do your Christmas shopping?

Christmas is always a really busy time for us, with staff being off. Normally, we just about manage a very last-minute dash round the Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield.

  • Find out what other equine celebrities will be hoping to receive during the festive season in this week’s Christmas special issue of Horse & Hound (11 November ’04).


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