Francis Whittington, British event rider

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British event rider Francis Whittington – born in 1977 – started riding at an early age, growing up at his mother’s riding stables.

Francis had a successful career as a young rider first representing Britain in 1993 in the Pony Team at the European Championships in Hassett, Belgium, where he won team silver and individual gold on North Down Nova.

In 1997 he was placed second at Bramham young riders championships.

Francis successfully completed his first Burghley in 2001 on Doonbeg. And in 2003 he secured an advanced win at Gatcombe on his top ride Osh Kosh, and was also placed third in the Eventer’s Grand Prix at Hickstead in the same week.

2003 saw him receive the Pricewaterhouse Coopers rider award of £1,000 for young riders aged 23-28, who have set up their own eventing business.

In 2005 he won the Scottish Championships at Thirlestane with Spin Doctor and in 2006 he completed Badminton with OshKosh.

Francis won the Burnham Market World Cup Qualifier in 2008on Sir Percival lll.

He was the only rider in the 39-strong field to achieve the optimum time of 6.46m across country, finishing 9sec inside the time contributing to his reputation as one of the best cross-country riders on the circuit.

Since then he secured a top 10 finish at Burghley in 2010 and, in 2011, a 5th at the CCI*** at Tattersalls in Ireland, 11th at Luhmuhlen, 3rd at the Hartpury CIC*** and then 13th at Burghley.

In April 2010 Francis was admitted to hospital with suspected meningitis but still managed to compete at Badminton with Sir Percival III at the end of the month.

Francis – who is also a qualified horse dentist and chairman of the Event Riders Association – currently lives next to his yard in >strong>East Sussex with his wife Samantha and their son Max.

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Originally published on horseandhound.co.uk