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John Whitaker (born on 5 August 1955 in Huddersfield) is an international showjumper.

He has won 14 team medals at Olympic, World and European Championships.

The Whitaker family dominates British show jumping. John’s younger brother, Michael is one of England’s top show jumpers and his son Robert, niece Ellen and nephew William have all established themselves in the world of professional show jumping.

John began riding aged 6 on his first pony Bonny. He was taught by his mother, who ran a riding school. At the age of 18, John was given Ryan’s Son. The partnership lasted some 14 years, with the high point of winning team silver at the Los Angeles Olympic games.

In 1985 John Whitaker began riding Milton and the pair claimed their first major victory the following year when they won the Du Maunier Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows. The fantastic horse won over £1 million in prize money before John retired him in 1994.

John went on to claim the leading rider title at the Volvo Cup final in Helsinki in 1998 and won the first two legs of the World Cup on Virtual Village. That same year he won the Derby at Hickstead on Gammon, who at 21 years old was the oldest horse to have done so.

In 1999 John won the Grand Prix at Hickstead and the following year he won the Derby once again, riding Virtual Village. In 2004 John won the Derby for the fourth time on Douglas Bunn’s Buddy Bunn.

In 2007 John claimed a bronze medal at the European championships and qualified for the Olympics. No-one would rule John out of being among the riders at the 2012 Olympics in London and he is currently ranked second by the British Show Jumping Association.

He is currently based in Cumberworth, West Yorkshire.

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Major achievements

  • Won 21 medals at World, Olympic and European level
  • Competed in the 1980, 1984, 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympics
  • Member of the Nations Cup Team 173 times with 39 victories
  • Bronze winning team in the European Championships 2007
  • Bronze winning team in the European Championships 1997
  • Bronze winning team in the World Championships 1998
  • Silver winning team in the European Championships 1995
  • Silver winning team in the European Championships 1993
  • Silver Winning team in the European Championships 1991
  • Individual Silver and Bronze winning team in the World Championships 1990
  • Individual and team Gold in the European Championships 1987
  • Silver winning team in the World Championships 1986
  • Individual Bronze and Gold winning team in the European Championships 1985
  • Silver winning team in the European Championships 1984
  • Individual and team Silver in the European Championships in 1983
  • Bronze winning team in the World Championships 1982
  • Individual and team Silver in the Alternative Olympic Games 1980