Top competitor in the world of show jumping for over four decades.
John Whitaker MBE is a British equestrian and Olympian who competes in show jumping. He has won numerous international medals including an Olympic silver medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles. He is also the managing director of John Whitaker International Limited which produces tack and equestrian clothing.
Top World Competitor
Born on a Yorkshire dairy farm in 1955, John is the oldest of four brothers who also share a love for horses and showjumping competitions. In fact, the Whitaker family is one of show jumping’s most famous dynasties. John’s brother Michael has competed alongside JOhn on British Olympic teams and his three children, Louise, Robert and Joanne, as well as most of his nieces and nephews, compete in elite-level show jumping.
John began riding at the age of six, taught by his mother, who ran a riding school. He began show jumping professionally at the age of sixteen and has never stopped. In his long and very distinguished career, John has competed in 39 major World and European championships and on six Olympic teams. He has won a staggering 24 international medals including an Olympic Silver Medal at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
Of his horses, John has had many great mounts, but he is best known for his partnership with Milton. One of the most loved and recognized horses in the history of showjumping, Milton was the first horse to win over £1 million in prize money before being retired in 1994.
Regarding his retirement, John shows no signs of slowing down, although the risks of the sport are ever-present. In December 2000, John collapsed prior to a show in Stockholm, Sweden. He had suffered a life-threatening brain hemorrhage and needed emergency surgery. Incredibly, he made a full recovery and returned to competition a few months later in May 2001. Although many in the sport had expected John to retire, that thought never entered his mind.
John went on to compete in the Rio Olympics in 2016 and he is currently considering a possible seventh Olympic appearance in Tokyo, which was scheduled to be in July 2020 but has now been postponed until July 2021. Whenever he does decide to hang up his spurs, JOHN will leave behind an unparalleled record of success and endurance.
John is also the managing director of John Whitaker International Limited which produces tack and equestrian clothing. The Universal Bit is a utilitarian product drawn from John’s extensive personal experience in the sport of show jumping. This bit can be reconfigured for use on a variety of horses and conditions. The effect of the bit can be tailored by adjusting the point at which the cheek pieces and reins are attached.