This week’s Horse & Hound features the first in a five-week masterclass series with top international show jumper Michael Whitaker. Michael opens the series by explaining how he got started and who has influenced him during his career, as well as introducing his guinea pigs James Billington and Chloe Newton.

James, 20, has been based with Michael for nearly three years and shares stable-jockey duties with Michael’s nephew William Whitaker. He will be riding a four-year-old Dutch-bred gelding called Chesney and a nine-year-old Dutch-bred mare called Pybalia.

Chloe, 22, was national under-21 eventing champion in 2003 and has competed at Burghley and Badminton. She will be riding the Irish-bred seven-year-old former show jumper General Greenfort and 12-year-old New Zeland-bred Thoroughbred gelding Fox On The Run.

Next week Michael discusses flatwork for novice horses preparing to compete in show jumping and eventing, including how to teach flying changes. He also explains how to develop an eye for a stride when approaching a fence.

Week three is dedicated to assessing the more experienced horse, techniques that you can use when riding sharp horses and ways to improve show jumping technique, while week four looks at competing and how to improve your jump off performance.

Make sure you don’t miss any instalments of the masterclass by placing an order for Horse & Hound at your local newsagents.