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Donald Whitaker and Millfield Colette, British showjumping heroes


  • After Nice Britain’s showjumping crew delighted followers with their good victory within the Nations Cup of Sharjah, UAE, final weekend, we caught up with one of many successful quartet, Donald Whitaker, who jumped an outstanding double clear with the gorgeous mare Millfield Colette.

    He describes the crew’s achievement as “a day I’ll always remember”, not least as a result of he was leaping alongside his brother Joe Whitaker for simply the second time, in addition to team-mates Tim Gredley and William Funnell.

    Millfield Colette, identified at residence as “Ellie”, is a 10-year-old mare by Cornet Obolensky and a brand new experience for 30-year-old Donald. She was bred by Sue Jaggar at Millfield Stud out of a Clearway mare and was produced by Laura Robinson, with whom she had been leaping CSI3* grands prix, earlier than Donald took the reins initially of November.

    “She’s getting higher and higher each single time she jumps,” Donald advised H&H. “I’d all the time had a little bit of a watch on her leaping with Laura, nevertheless it’s truly my girlfriend Nicola Pohl who owns her and he or she talked about her once more, so we took a bit extra discover of her, then within the house of per week we had purchased her.

    “The primary day I rode her, I realised she has a variety of blood, she’s very scopey and he or she’s intelligent as properly,” he provides. “She’s a bit wild – she’s a blood mare – however when she goes within the ring she places all that into her leap, she’s an unbelievable fighter. She looks like the larger the fences, the more durable she desires to run at them. She’s wonderful to experience, very thrilling, and he or she looks like there’s nothing too massive for her.”

    Donald Whitaker: ‘She’s making her presence felt’

    The pair have been positioned in a handful of exhibits in Europe earlier than travelling to the UAE initially of the 12 months, the place they have been a part of the five-star Nations Cup crew that completed second in Abu Dhabi, earlier than going one higher in Sharjah.

    “She simply had one fence down within the five-star, then got here again and jumped an incredible clear spherical,” says Donald. “On the again of that, to then leap double clear in Sharjah exhibits she’s bettering each time she goes within the ring, so she’s very thrilling.

    “She’s the one which’s coming by means of, vivid lights shining. She’s undoubtedly made her presence felt within the secure that’s for certain!”

    Donald describes successful a Nations Cup crew competitors alongside his brother as “very particular”.

    “Joe was beating himself up a bit after the final one [when he just missed out in a jump-off against Austria] so I stated, ‘We’ll simply should win the subsequent one’ – and we did!” says Germany-based Donald, who made his UAE debut final 12 months. “The course was technical sufficient – it most likely wasn’t the largest observe below the circumstances, however Nations Cups are extra in regards to the event, folks on the crew are counting on you and there’s a bit of additional strain. Nevertheless it was tough sufficient, with solely two double clears and Eire had a robust crew, too.

    “There was such good crew spirit – with my brother there, Tim Gredley, Will Funnell; we’re all superb pals so truly the environment has been superb for the previous couple of weeks.”

    Donald Whitaker reveals that he “tries to do my very own factor” throughout Nations Cup competitions, however had “half a watch on Eire”, Nice Britain’s nearest challengers coming by means of to spherical two.

    “So going into the ring, I wasn’t one hundred pc certain, however I knew if Shane Breen, who went earlier than me, had one down and I went clear, we’d kind of gained it,” says Donald. “However I blocked that out as I trotted into the ring and he or she simply popped spherical it. Using a horse like her makes life rather a lot simpler!

    “To leap on a Nations Cup crew is a extremely massive alternative and to do in addition to we’ve accomplished initially of the 12 months offers you huge confidence – it’s good for the horses, good for British showjumping and it offers everybody round you confidence as properly.

    “It’s a dream come true, simply wonderful.”

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