‘It’s all thanks to Michael Whitaker’: two riders are to tie the knot — with a little help from the legendary showjumper…

  • The newly crowned national showjumping champion Joe Clayton has gone down on one knee to propose to girlfriend Georgina Stirling and we’re pleased to announce that she said yes… eventually.

    “She kept asking me if I was sure,” Joe told Horse & Hound. “I said I might change my mind if she didn’t say yes soon!”

    The showjumping couple met three years ago at Michael Whitaker’s Nottinghamshire stables, at which Joe had been based for several years, when Georgina joined as a working pupil.

    “So it’s all thanks to Michael,” said 28-year-old Joe, who is part of the extended Whitaker dynasty as his mother June is a cousin of the Whitaker brothers. “It was certainly love at first sight for me — I’m not sure it was for her though.”

    Joe had been planning his proposal for a while — “trying to find the best time to do it” — and finally popped the question when out for a walk with Georgina while staying with her parents in Dorset.

    According to Joe, they are yet to set the date for the wedding but they could be walking down the aisle in 2019.

    “It’s incredibly difficult trying to find the right day as obviously we want everyone to be there, but there’s never a good time,” said Joe.

    Continues below…

    Joe and Georgina are based at the Clayton family home near Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, having set up their own yard in the autumn of last year.

    The newly engaged Joe earned the title of national showjumping champion when riding Carolus K, owned by Jane Heerbeck, to victory at Stoneleigh a couple of weeks ago, also picking up a wild card ticket to compete in the international classes at Horse of the Year Show in October.

    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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