The Whitaker family dominated the British Show Jumping Awards Ball last Saturday (January 27) with Michael, Ellen, Joe and William Whitaker all taking home at least one of the coveted bronze trophies.
But perhaps the most important presentation of the evening was the BSJA Lifetime Award, given to Enid Whitaker. Her sons John and Michael have successfully represented Britain at international level for several generations, and the Whitaker phenomenon has been passed down to the next generation – seven of Enid’s 13 grandchildren are already competing at national or international level.
“We all loved horses and you have to find your children an interest in life – so we chose horses and it kind of snowballed from there,” Enid explained.
Sadly Michael Whitaker was unable to attend the Ball but he was presented crowned Leading Rider of the Year and Rider’s Rider of the Year in his absence. Last year Michael represented his country on seven Super League Nations Cup teams and won the grand prix at the Samsung Super League Final in Barcelona.
The awards for Leading Under 21 and Leading Under 18 riders were presented to the next generation of the Whitaker dynasty, brother and sister, Ellen and Joe Whitaker. Ellen and Joe’s cousin William Whitaker picked up the award for Best Up & Coming Rider, voted for by the top 100 riders.
But the Whitakers did not steel the show entirely. Only Fools on Horses Head Trainer Tim Stockdale was crowned Members Personality of the Year following an online vote on the BSJA website.
John, Pat and Lisa Hales’ stallion Arko III won the Leading Horse award while the Leading Nations Cup Horse award went to the ten year old stallion, Peppermill by Burgraaf, owned by Rebecca Stones and ridden by John Whitaker.
Daniel Neilson, 16, and his pony Micklow Madness won the award for Outstanding Pony / Rider Performance and Helen Tredwell was presented with the Sir Harry Llewellyn Trophy for being the rider with the most International and Area Trial points.