Ellen Whitaker was born into the Whitaker showjumping dynasty — daughter of Steven, brother to Robert, niece to John and Michael and cousin to William — so she was destined to follow in the family footsteps.
Born on 5 March 1986, she showed early signs of the Whitaker talent and ambition, competing in her first affiliated show at just five years old, and qualifying for the Horse Of The Year Show by the time she was eight.
She was one of the youngest riders to represent Great Britain when she competed at the European Championships in Germany in 2007, defying her critics to jump triple clear and secure gold for Britain. This win ensured a British presence at the 2008 Bejing Olympics, although Ellen missed out on a place in the team due to her top ride at the time, Holstein stallion Locarno 62, going lame.
Ellen is the winner of numerous prestigious showjumping events including the 2007 and 2010 Hickstead Speed Derby and the 2009 HOYS Puissance. An attractive blonde, Ellen was perceived as bringing a touch of glamour to the sport — and was engaged to Hollywood actor Henry Cavill for a time — but in recent years she’s taken a step back from the limelight while she produces her next string of up-and-coming equine superstars.
In May 2014, she had her first baby, Harry Marinas Whitaker, with her Spanish partner, Antonio Marinas Soto — who is also a showjumper, of course. They added Frankie Thomas Marinas-Whitaker to their family in March 2016. We wonder what the boys’ choice of career will be…
Ellen returned to British team duties following a seven-year break in June 2018 with her new equine star Arena UK Winston, who she described as “one of the best I’ve ever had”. The partnership were among the nine combinations nominated for the British team for the Tokyo Olympic Games.