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Festive stars: Oliver Tuff — ‘All I want is to get to the very top’

Over this festive season, we are shining a light on up-and-coming talent across the equestrian disciplines. These are riders you really need to keep an eye out for during the 2020 season...

Devon-based 16-year-old Oliver Tuff has strong showjumping roots with both his father, Justin, and grandfather having competed in the sport. He represented Great Britain at the 2019 junior European championships. Here are five reasons Oliver needs to be on your radar in 2020.

1. Showjumping is in the genes, which always helps — “I have been riding since I could walk, so it has given me a good start,” he says.

2. Oliver has been winning since his very early days in the competition ring. He has competed at Horse of the Year Show and Olympia on ponies and been on winning junior Nations Cup teams, as well as representing Great Britain on children-on-horses and junior teams.

3. The Totnes-based rider was the youngest ever winner of the senior Foxhunter final at Horse of the Year Show in 2018 at the age of 15. He rode his father’s horse Darino B. “I first rode at Horse of the Year Show in 2015 and I competed the year before in a pony class [the newcomers] and I had the last fence down in the jump-off, so I started riding horses and it has really paid off,” he said at the time.

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4. Oliver is a hugely ambitious young rider. “All I want is to get to the very top, it’s all you can wish for,” he says. “I have some good owners, and hopefully I can get a few more.”

5. Among his strong string of horses is his Foxhunter champion, the Dutch-bred Darino B (Verdi x Burggraaf), who he describes as “quite a cool character. I can gallop him flat out to a 1.45m fence and he leaves them standing.” He rode Darino B at the junior championships. At the junior Nations Cup final in Belgium in September, Oliver rode the 10-year-old mare Esgracia, with whom he has also jumped up to CSI2* level.

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