Michael Whitaker and the dynasty of champions
The Whitaker dynasty has made an extraordinary contribution to the equestrian sport for more nearly 40 years.
Born in 1960 into a family of equestrians on a farm in Yorkshire, North England, Michael and his three brothers John, Steven and Ian have inherited the horses passion from their parents Donald and Enid Whitaker and were taught to ride principally by their mother. Michael was competing on ponies and made his first international showjumpings at 16 years old.
Then, at 20 years old he become the Hickstead Derby’s youngest winner and this was the start of a brilliant carrer.
Michael has took part to all the major competitions in the world and become one of the most skilled and successful riders of our time, a real icon of equestrian sports.
Michael has competed at 5 Olympic Games, 6 World Championships, 14 European Championships, 23 World Cup Finals; he has won until now 15 Team and Individual Medals. Among his memorable horses there are Midnight Madness, Mon Santa, Prince of Wales, Two Steps, Ashley, Amai, Portofino, Viking, Cassionato and many others... With all his proud patners he competed and won an unbelievable number of Grand Prix, Nations Cup and international top competitions. In 2016 with Viking he won the Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Madrid, the only pairs out of 48 to achieve three clear rounds, a big success! Amomg other, he won the Nations Cup at CSIO Rome with Cassionato.
Michael lives in Nottingham, England, with his wife Melissa and their three children Jack, Molly and Katie Jane. The farm is located amongst the fields, in a vast flat landscape, with a great climate, very nice in the four seasons. The property nestles on 80 acres of grassland separated by fences and hedges.
Free in the wide paddock there are the mares and foals; but also competiotions horses spend a lot of time free in the fields. Stables, outbuildings, horseboxes, outdoor sand arena and grass arena with derby-style fences completed the Whitaker home.
In the Whitaker farm the foals leave in natural and free way till three-years-old. Then, the riders start to break them, get them fitter and starting to jump. Progression of training is slow, it respects the rates of growth of the horses. The young horses need a bit of time to mature and come on in their own time and when they are seven or eight you can start to put more pressure on them. The aim should be the horses stay in activity until they are 16, 17, even…
Horses should have the life most suitable as possible to their nature. The horseman and rider’s duty is to respect the mind and the body of the horses, to take care of their welfare and to understand and meet their needs. This is the way to become champions. Word of Michael!
MICHAEL WHITAKER MEDALS
2013 European Ch. - Herning (DEN) Team Gold Medal - Viking
2007 European Ch - Mannheim (GER) Team Bronze Medal - Portofino
1997 European Ch - Mannheim (GER) Team Bronze Medal - Ashley
1995 European Ch - San Gallen (SUI) Individual Silver Medal – Two Step and Team Silver Medal
1993 European Ch - Gijon (ESP) Individual Bronze Medal – Midnight Madness and Team Silver Medal
1991 European Ch - La Baule (FRA) Team Silver Medal
1990 WEG - Stockholm (SWE) Team Bronze Medal – Mon Santa
1989 European Ch - Rotterdam (NED) Individual Silver Medal – Mon Santa and Team Gold Medal
1987 European Ch - San Gallen (SUI) Team Gold Medal - Amanda
1986 WEG - Aachen (GER) Team Silver Medal – Warren Point
1985 European Ch - Dinard (FRA) Team Gold Medal - Warren Point
1984 Olympic Games - Los Angeles (USA) Team Silver Medal - Amanda