‘It’s what I do it for’: William Whitaker reflects on first leg of the European Showjumping Championships

  • Great Britain’s anchor rider William Whitaker picked up just four faults during a lovely round with the 11-year-old Galtur in the opening leg of the European Showjumping Championships in Germany on Wednesday (1 September).

    William, the senior member of the young British team at the age of 32, finished with a score of 81.77. This was good enough to place him 34th in the individual standings and helped to push Great Britain into 12th of the 15 teams after day one of the European Showjumping Championships.

    “I’m normally the youngest in the team, so I feel like an old fogey this week!” said William of his team-mates Georgia Tame, Emily Moffitt and Joe Stockdale, who are all in their early 20s.

    “But it’s good to try and help the others. I’ve been in their position before and it is daunting and there are so many emotions throughout the week. You’re trying to keep everything the same as you always do and think to yourself, ‘I’m obviously got here for a reason and what we’re doing is working’. But then when you get here, the atmosphere changes and you see all the other teams and everybody sticking together. It’s what I do it for, personally, but when you’ve not done it before, when it’s your first championship, there’s a lot of pressure.”

    William was riding the lovely grey Galtur (Cornet’s Stern x Balou Du Rouet), who is owned and bred by Philip and Jane Tuckwell, having got the ride last year.

    “It’s an amazing achievement, not only to own a horse that goes to the European Showjumping Championships, but to breed one and own it – I bet there’s not many people that can say they’ve done that. So hats off to Philip and Jane, and thanks for the support over the past 18 months.”

    William also paid tribute to the support and organisation behind the scenes at these European Showjumping Championships.

    “The support we’ve received from the World Class Programme and all the support staff here is second to none,” said William. “If you can’t come up with the goods on a weekend like this, then you never will!

    “We went in there yesterday [for the warm-up] and had a nice pop round. He’s been in again today, obviously, and he’s usually a horse that gets better through the show. I think the conditions are brilliant here.

    “I was very pleased with the way he jumped, but obviously a bit disappointed to have that one down near the end. But it’s quite an eyeful for the horses and he’s not got so much experience at that level. So I was pleased with the way he went in there and got stuck in. I think he’ll only improve from that.”

    The team competition for the European Showjumping Championships continues on Thursday, with the medals being decided on Friday. The individual championship concludes on Sunday (5 September).

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