When the organisers of last week’s Brussels Stephex Masters show (30 August – 3 September) offered the prize of a gleaming STX horsebox to the show’s leading two-star rider, they must have imagined one lucky showjumper tootling off down the motorway with a broad grin on their face.
But what they didn’t count on was a teenager too young to drive swooping in with some great results to claim the lease on the two-horse lorry — our very own super young talent, 15-year-old Jack Whitaker.
Jack — quite possibly the country’s youngest horsebox owner — will have to enjoy his new set of wheels from the passenger seat, because the teenager doesn’t pick up his L-plates until his 17th birthday in October next year.
“We’ll have the lorry brought over to the UK, but someone else will have to drive it for the time being,” Jack told H&H. “I’ll have to try to win a car next so I have something to drive next year!”
Jack picked up several placings at the show with his top horse Street Hassle, an 11-year-old son of Quick Star, and the very exciting seven-year-old French-bred stallion Arlo De Blondel.
“I’m very lucky, I’ve got some very good horses to ride at the moment — we’re very excited by Arlo De Blondel, he’s very consistent,” said Jack. “I didn’t manage to win a class, but getting the leading rider award is definitely the next best thing.
“It’s a great show, so I was very lucky to be there. My Dad [Michael] was competing in the five-stars and I was able to watch some amazing classes.”
So watch out Nottinghamshire, with his current winning strike rate, Jack will be heading out to practise his three-point turns and reverse parking in a fleet of gleaming supercars.
Read the full report from Brussels, and all the international action, in this week’s Horse & Hound (out Thursday, 7 September).