Ellen Whitaker joins Hickstead Nations Cup team for first time in over a decade

Ellen Whitaker has been selected to represent Great Britain on home soil for the first time in over a decade.

The Yorkshire rider received the call-up for the Nations Cup squad at Hickstead next week (26 July) after William Funnell withdrew his horse Billy Diamo.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Ellen told H&H. “The horses have been getting better and better these past few months. We’ve been busy going to a few big shows and we seem to have found a good level of form.”

Ellen has just returned from competing at the CSI5* Longines Global Champions Tour of Chantilly with her two top horses, the 10-year-olds Jack Van’t Kattenheye and Arena UK Winston — the latter being her Nations Cup ride.

“I’m so proud of them both,” said Ellen, who last jumped in the Hickstead Nations Cup in 2007 with her great stallion Locarno.

The squad selected for next week’s crucial point-scoring leg of the series also includes Amy Inglis on Wishes, Ben Maher with either Concona or Tic Tac, James Wilson on Imagine De Muze and Amanda Derbyshire with the Ellen Whitaker-produced Luibanta BH or Roulette BH.

Holly Smith was forced to miss the event as she broke her collarbone in a fall 10 days ago.

William Funnell was originally selected for the team but made the decision to withdraw with the nine-year-old Billy Diamo.

“The horse came to form very early at Windsor,” said Great Britain’s performance manager Di Lampard of William’s third-place finish in the Rolex grand prix there.

“He’s really inexperienced for a nine-year-old and is still developing so we’re looking at the bigger picture with him. The horse has Tokyo written all over it.

“But Ellen has been building up her horses really well this year. I’ve been working really hard trying to get our riders into the bigger shows and Ellen earned a wild-card to Chantilly after Holly Smith broke her collarbone.

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“She proved there that she is competitive at five-star level.

“We have several very exciting partnerships at the moment, there’s a lot to look forward to.”

The Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of Great Britain CSIO5* takes place at Hickstead on Friday 26 July at 2.15pm.

Don’t miss our special preview of the Royal International Horse Show in this week’s H&H magazine (18 July), including what it takes to win the supreme championship and much more. Plus, read our interview with young showjumper Amy Inglis as she tells us about her step up from a successful junior career.