Tina Cook

Tina Cook (full name Kristina) was a frequent member of British squads at championships for more than 25 years before she retired from riding at the top level in 2022.

She was the 2009 European eventing champion and is a two-time Olympian.

Tina is renowned for careful, thorough training of her horses, building a partnership and producing them for the long-term to be five-star performers or team horses, rather than looking for quick wins.

She also works as an equestrian commentator, including for the BBC at major events.

Tina Cook and Miners Frolic take double gold at the 2009 European Championships.

Tina Cook and Miners Frolic take double gold at the 2009 European Championships.

Who are Tina Cook’s parents?

Tina Cook – date of birth 30 August 1970 – is the daughter of the late Josh Gifford, trainer of 1981 Grand National winner Aldaniti and four-time champion jump jockey, who passed away in February 2012.

Her mother Althea was on victorious showjumping Nations Cup teams.

Tina’s brother Nick Gifford is a racehorse trainer. Tina helps with the training of some of his horses and many of her event horses are thoroughbreds. She has also ridden in charity races.

Tina Cook with Paddy's Poem (Paddy) at brother Nick Gifford's racing yard

Tina Cook rides out her brother Nick’s charge Paddy’s Poem at home in 2019.

What championships did Tina ride at?

Tina’s medal tally includes individual and team bronze at the 2008 Olympics on Miners Frolic and team silver at the 2012 Olympics on the same horse. She has also been reserve for several Olympics, including receiving a late call-up as travelling reserve for the Rio Olympics with Billy The Red.

Tina has also won two world team golds (1994 on General Jock and 2010 on Miners Frolic) and a world team silver (2014 on home-bred De Novo News). She was also ninth as an individual at the 2018 World Equestrian Games riding Billy The Red.

Tina’s greatest individual accolade came when she won individual gold at the 2009 European Championships in Fontainebleau on Miners Frolic. She also led the Brits to team gold on that occasion.

“To be European champion is massive and unbelievable,” said Tina after that win. “I didn’t think I’d ever come back to the top level after having two children and the longer you’re in the sport, the more you appreciate it when it goes right. I’m very lucky to have a horse of the class of Miners Frolic and he’s given me a new lease of life.”

Her other European medals are: team silver in 2019 (Billy The Red), team gold in 2017 (Billy The Red), team gold in 1999 (The Gangster II), individual bronze in 1997 (General Jock), team gold in 1995 (Midnight Blue) and individual silver in 1993 (Song And Dance Man).

Tina Cook and Billy The Red at the first trot-up at the European Eventing Championships 2019.

Tina Cook and Billy The Red at the first trot-up at the European Eventing Championships 2019.

Alongside some great successes at the highest level, Tina Cook has suffered considerable heart-break with her top horses. Miners Frolic recovered from a life-threatening colitis before returning to eventing at the highest level and helping Britain win Olympic silver in London. He was retired at the age of 16 after he suffering a heart problem out hacking.

A few years later Tina’s home-bred eventing star, De Novo News, contracted shipping fever on his journey home from Strzegom, Poland, in June 2015. He was put down due to complications in October 2015.

She lost her last team horse, Billy The Red, in 2022 and decided to call time on her elite eventing career at that point.

How many children does Tina Cook have? Is she married?

Tina has two children, Isabelle – who is following in her mother’s footsteps by eventing successfully and has won medals at junior level – and Harry. She is divorced from their father Phil.

“If I can be a good mother and a top sportswoman, I will have achieved my dream,” she said in an interview in 2018.

Where is Tina based?

Tina and Isabelle are based in Findon, West Sussex. The yard is just around the corner from Tina’s brother Nick’s training base.