Credit: Photo by Stephen Bartholomew/IPS/REX/Shutterstock
William Whitaker was born on 26 July 1989 into the Whitaker showjumping dynasty. Nephew of John and Michael, William’s father Ian is the only brother in the family who doesn’t showjump, but the sport is clearly in William’s blood.
Cousin to Ellen and Robert Whitaker, William grew up surrounded by horses and has competed since he was a child. In 2001 aged 12, William won the Horse of the Year Show 138cm championship on his pony Mystic Starlight Express. Two years later he won the Junior Foxhunter riding Devlin and in 2005 he won the Junior Show Jumper of the Year.
William won individual European gold (and team bronze) as a junior plus team gold and team bronze as a young rider, before stepping up to senior ranks. He also represented Britain in the Australian Youth Olympic Final, riding a borrowed horse, and brought home a bronze medal.
When William left school he trained with American showjumper Aaron Vale, who helped him with the transition from ponies to horses. On his return to England William worked on Michael’s yard. He set up on his own in 2011.
William has a son and a daughter with his girlfriend Elisabeth Fredlund.
William, who is the tallest of the Whitaker family at 6ft1in, has represented Britain in a number of senior Nations Cups. He has won three World Cup qualifiers, the first in Mechelen in 2007, followed by Stuttgart in November 2014 and Olympia in December 2018.