It’s been three decades since John Whitaker and Milton ruled the showjumping world during a historic era in the sport. We will be celebrating the full career of this equine legend in the 15 October issue of Horse & Hound and his groom Penny Dalton, who had perhaps the most coveted job in the world, shares with us some fantastic insights into life with the great flying grey.
Here are eight things that may surprise you…
1. “It was all hands on deck to clip him — he just hated it — and that’s why sometimes he was a bit fluffy at shows,” says Penny.
2. “He always wore knee boots when riding out. He was very nosy and one time out hacking with John he fell in a ditch, just because if he heard a noise or saw something going on that he needed to look at it — he would literally trip over his own feet in the process.”
3. “He was a bit of a nightmare travelling in the lorry — he’d be bored before you even left Yorkshire and would paw constantly. He had no patience and just wanted to be doing stuff.”
4. “To sit on he was amazing — he was strong, but it felt as if you were riding a dressage test on him, he was so light in the mouth.”
5. “He didn’t like having his mane and tail pulled, either — Clare, John’s wife, was the master but you’d have to back him up and stand behind the stable door to do it.”
6. “I used to jump every single fence with him in the ring. He could be the devil to look after, but I really believe that character made him the horse he was.”
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7. “Nobody knew how he did it, but every morning he’d be standing with his rug over his head, or shredded on the floor, waiting to be rescued. He just didn’t like having a rug on.”
8. “I still get upset when I see him on videos because he really was such a character and we were so upset when we lost him. But no other horse is remembered like Milton — even so far down the line,” says Penny.
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