Exciting new five-star ride for John Whitaker – with Paris Olympics ‘a possibility’

  • John Whitaker has a new top-drawer ride in his string with whom he will target five-star shows and could be a contender for Paris 2024.

    Arqana De Riverland, owned and campaigned by French rider Juliette Faligot, will be ridden by John.

    The Olympic medal-winning rider has a one percent share in the grey mare and she was declared for Britain ahead of the 15 January deadline – this was the date by which horses must be registered in the nation for which they compete at Paris 2024.

    “Juliette wants to give the mare a chance at five-star level and possibly the Olympics,” John told H&H, adding that it is “in the sights” if she goes well.

    “I like to let actions speak louder than words, so we shall see how we go. It’s a possibility.”

    The 14-year-old mare, by Cornet Obolensky, has been produced from a young horse to top level by Juliette. The pair have scored CSI3* grands prix wins and numerous international placings across Europe.

    Arqana is still with Juliette, with the aim for John to do his first shows with her towards the end of the month.

    He said the mare has a “very good” attitude and seems very straightforward.

    “I’ve ridden her a couple of times and it went well. I’m going to start off at Sentower, then Lier, and take it from there,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it – hopefully it’s going to be good!”

    John, 68, is a legend of British showjumping and one of the sport’s most respected horsemen. He has competed at six Olympic Games, plus the 1980 alternative Olympics and many other senior championships, winning dozens of medals for Britain.

    He has been competing at the top of the sport for nearly five decades. At his most recent international event, the five-star London International Horse Show in December, he won two major classes.

    • What’s your favourite John Whitaker memory? Send your thoughts to hhletters@futurenet.com, including your name, nearest town and country, for a chance that your letter could appear in the magazine

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