Spot a British showjumping superstar of the future at Olympia

  • The next generation of British star riders, including members of famous equestrian families like the Whitakers, Fletchers, Murphys and Barkers, will be among those entertaining the crowds at Olympia, The London International Horse Show (17-23 December).

    Many of the country’s leading young showjumpers will feature in three classes — the Mistletoe Mini Stakes 128cm, the Voltaire Design Mince Pie Stakes 148cm and the Voltaire Design Under-25 British Championship — at the popular festive show.

    The Voltaire Design Under-25 British Championship, which will be held on Friday morning (21 December), will feature 24 riders who have been invited to battle it out for the championship title at the venue’s Grand Hall.

    Riders include Jessica Mendoza, a travelling reserve for the 2016 Rio Olympics and the youngest competitor in 40 years to join the Team GBR showjumping squad, and Jack Whitaker, who claimed a silver medal at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympics on his 17th birthday this year as part of the European team, 34 years after his father Michael and uncle John Whitaker won team silver at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

    Joining them is Robert Murphy, former gold-medal winner at the Children, Junior, and Young Rider European Championships in 2014 and son of top showjumping trainer Peter, plus Oliver Fletcher, son of international showjumpers Graham and Tina Fletcher, who took individual silver and team silver at the Children Junior and Young Rider Championships in Fontainebleau this year.

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    The Voltaire Design Mince Pie Stakes 148cm class, which will be held on Saturday afternoon (22 December), will feature Hannah Barker, niece of international showjumper Paul Barker and granddaughter of David Barker, who represented Britain at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. Hannah competed as an individual at this year’s FEI Pony Europeans and joining her at Olympia will be the gold medal-winning British pony team riders; Perdita Digby, Nicole Lockhead Anderson, Shaunie Greig and Claudia Moore.

    The Mistletoe Mini Stakes 128cm class, which will be held on Sunday evening (23 December), will include national 128cm champion Tabitha Kyle, daughter of Irish Olympic eventer Mark Kyle, who will compete alongside Noora Von Bulow and Poppy Deakin, who finished second and third respectively at this year’s British Showjumping National Championships.

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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