John Whitaker has two new horses, both of which will be seen in the colours of former FEI president Princess Haya’s Team Harmony.
The British showjumper made his grand prix debut with the 10-year-old mare Ornellaia (For Pleasure x Calato) at the CSI3* Eschweiler Masters at the weekend (16-19 April) where the pair finished third.
“I’m really pleased with this one — I think she’s something a bit special. With so many shows on every week now, it’s nice to have something to take the pressure off Argento, too,” said John, who took over the reins on the German-bred mare from Team Harmony rider François Mathy Jr of Belgium.
“I think she was a bit small for François!”
John was already riding another Team Harmony horse, Echo Of Light, also a 10-year-old and originally produced by the Team Harmony rider Danny McGlynn. He was sent the Holstein mare Ornellaia at the start of this year and campaigned both horses on the Spanish Sunshine Tour followed by Vilamoura in Portugal.
“We spent the time just getting used to each other,” John told H&H. “We were first to go in the jump-off at Eschweiler and maybe could have gone faster, but Ornellaia did everything I asked of her.”
John also impressed in the young horse section at the show with the seven-year-old Cassinis Chaplin (Cassini x Cascavelle), co-owned by his wife Clare.
“He started in Spain, too, and is improving all the time — he didn’t have a fence down all week,” said John. “He looks really special, too.”
John will compete in Hagen, Germany, this week (23-27 April) with top horses Argento and Lord Of Arabia before he takes Ornellaia to the Global Champions Tour of Shanghai (8-10 May).