12 stars of Christmas: meet the 17-year-old showjumper taking on the world

  • Over the 12 days of Christmas this festive season, we are shining a light on up-and-coming talent across the disciplines. These are people you really need to keep an eye out for in 2019...

    Jack Whitaker, the 17-year-old son of top British showjumper Michael Whitaker is already making a name for himself as one of Great Britain’s most promising young riders.

    Here are some interesting facts about the future star…

    A birthday to remember for Jack Whitaker

    Jack won a team silver medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires on his 17th birthday. The young showjumper, riding LV Chance Luck, was part of the European team that finished in second place in the Games. The feat comes 34 years after his father Michael and uncle John Whitaker won team silver at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

    A multiple medal winner

    Jack already has a number of medals tucked under his belt — two gold medals at the pony European Championships and team silver at the junior European Championships.


    Jack won a small horsebox when he was the leading rider of the CSI2* at Brussels Stephex Masters in 2017, the only problem that, aged just 15 at the time, he couldn’t drive it! It didn’t stop him taking it for a test spin around the arena, however.

    A Shetland called Sotty

    The talented youngster credits a small, but naughty, Shetland pony named Sotty for getting him into riding at a young age.

    Talent from a young age

    He started showjumping aged nine and his first competition pony was called Zodianne Van De Doevenbree, whom he got as a five-year-old. Jack produced the pony and, four years later, they won team gold at the pony European Championships.

    Continued below…

    School’s out!

    Jack switched to horses aged 12, juggling schoolwork with competing at shows, before deciding to turn professional on finishing school aged 16.

    A spin on Big Star

    He even got to ride Nick Skelton’s 2016 Olympic gold medal-winning mount, Big Star. Jack received a last-minute call-up to take the reins on the now-retired superstar at the Stallion AI Services and Twemlows Stud open day in April.

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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