Geoff Billington, British show jumper

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Geoff Billington, born on 2 March 1955, has been a leading figure on the show jumping circuit for over 30 years and is now based in Nantwich, Cheshire.

He boasts both European and World Championship team bronze medals and has won numerous grands prix.

Geoff first started riding at a local stable in Accrington aged 9. From an early age he showed promise in the equestrian world, buying his first pony for £10 and going on to sell it for £325.

Committed to an equestrian career, he went on to serve an apprenticeship with the top show jumper David Bowen, who is now regarded as one of today’s most outstanding trainers.

In 1976 Geoff rode Talk Of The North at his first international competition as part of the Nations Cup team in Olsztyn, Poland.

He represented Great Britain again at the Hamburg CSIO in 1981, and has since been a valued member of the Nations Cup teams, appearing no less than 40 times and helping to secure nine victories.

Geoff is most famous for his partnership with the much loved It’s Otto, who received the BSJA Team Lifetime Award in 2001. When It’s Otto arrived at Geoff’s yard as a six-year old Geoff had planned to sell him, but following a chance injury he failed the vetting.

The duo went on to amass over £650,000 winnings, made 15 Nations Cup appearances, were Britain’s highest-placed partnership at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and represented Britain again at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

It’s Otto was put to sleep in August 2009, aged 23.

Geoff is not only renowned as a horseman, but is also something of an entertainer, known for doing impressions of his fellow riders.

He was awarded the ‘Horse & Hound Equestrian Personality of the Year’ in 1996, and presented the ‘Simply the Best Tour’ in partnership with John Whitaker.

Geoff Billington’s major achievements:

2008

  • 2nd in Hickstead Derby (Cassabachus)

    2007

  • Won Hickstead Derby (Cassabachus)

    2006

  • 3rd in Hickstead Derby (Cassabachus)
  • Member of winning Nations Cup team

    2005

  • Horse of the Year Show – won Grade C Championships (Cassius Clay)

    2000

  • Olympic Games, Sydney – team 8th (It’s Otto)

    1999

  • European Championships, Hickstead – team 4th, individual 6th (Its Otto)

    1998

  • World Equestrian Games, Rome – team bronze (It’s Otto)

    1997

  • European Championships, Mannheim, Germany – team bronze, individual 10th (Its Otto)

    1996

  • Olympic Games, Atlanta – team 11th, individual 6th (It’s Otto)

  • Originally published on horseandhound.co.uk