Legendary British showjumper John Whitaker is enjoying a stellar year in the saddle, jumping on five-star Nations Cup teams, clearing 1.75m at HOYS recently and booking his ticket for the Prague Super Grand Prix next month.
But, talking on episode 72 of the Horse & Hound Podcast, currently supported by NAF, John explains that while his top horse Unick Du Francport has been flying the flag so successfully in the top tier of the sport, the next generation of equine talent is also being produced through the ranks by the Whitaker family.
John has bred and produced some very exciting younger horses, who look set to become superstars in their own right. He is particularly excited about “Jumbo” as he is known at home, a son of Argento out of the Landlunge mare Lydia CR.
“I have one who I think is exceptionally good, he’s a six-year-old ,” says John. “He’s a stallion and he’s quite a big, strong horse. Usually my daughters Louise and Joanne ride the young ones, but because he’s a big, strong stallion I haven’t let them jump him too much! He’s called Three Coynes.”
Another Argento youngster making waves is Vermento, an eight-year-old stallion owned by Caroline and Stephen Blatchford and now ridden by John’s son Robert. The pair were recent grand prix winners at Arena UK. John bred the stallion and handed over the reins to Robert after his son found himself short of a ride.
“It’s really nice to see some Argento offspring coming through now,” says John. “He actually didn’t start breeding that young and the first few years he didn’t get so many mares whereas now he’s getting quite a few and the hit rate from the ones he’s bred is looking good at the moment.”
You can listen to John Whitaker’s thoughts about breeding, representing Great Britain at the Nations Cup Final in Barcelona – and of course a few words about the great Milton and Ryan’s Son on episode 72 of The Horse & Hound Podcast, currently supported by NAF.
You might also be interested in:
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.