"Ellen Whitaker refuses to ride for Britain under Rob Hoekstra".

Luci07

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at the end of the day... she is making a living from her jumping in a sport where you can lose your best night so quickly - look at Pippa Funnell - one minute she seemed to have so many 4* horses then for various reasons, had none at that level. Her riding hadn't diminished by any degree but she just didn't have that level of horse at that time. While I think it would be lovely to ride for your country, a flag on the saddle doesn't mean money in the account and bills being paid!
 

Paddywhack

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Not sure if it is an arrogant,brave or stupid decision by a spoiled girl or a professional rider ???!!!! But what ever decision it was hers !
I am sure that she is professional enough to know what she is doing knowing that she puts any future team selection in jeopardy ..
But what really annoys me already is that IF for some reason the team does badly who will get the blame ??? R.H ??? NO Ellen will, since that is this nations mentality
 

SJFAN

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Sillygilly is correct, Ellen and her dad refused to attend designated events some years back, claiming that their own training programme was better. I think it will be they rather than the British team who will lose out in the long run.
 

cefyl

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Sillygilly is correct, Ellen and her dad refused to attend designated events some years back, claiming that their own training programme was better. .
If it was so much better then why are they no longer the force to be reckoned with in international SJ? Times change. Methods change, generally for the good (rollkur aside!), and to keep in with the way modern courses have to ridden. Look at what we once considered to be lowley nations in SJ - Spain; Brasil; Sweden; Italy (but I can remember when Piero & Raimondo D'Inzeo kept Italy at the top - OMG am I really that old?), they have hauled themselves up by the backside and listened, worked, been humble enough to take advice.

I have no feelings about RH good or bad, all I care is that he brings Britain back into the top nations. If money is all to Ellen then so be it, that is the path she chooses. What a contrast to Michel Robert who gave up the chance to ride on a leg of the Global Ch tour to ride and support his team in La Baule.
 

SJFAN

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I agree absolutely - and yes, I too am that old - the d'Inzeos were heroes of mine (along with Pat Smythe & David Broome) when I was growing up. Actually I remember Raimondo d'Inzeo saying that he despaired of the younger Italian team of which he was captain (this was in the early or mid 1970s) because they did not listen to advice. Representing your country on a team should be considered an honour - I don't think Ellen's uncles have turned down many such chances.
 

dieseldog

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I thought the problem was that if you jumped the Nations Cup then you didn't tend to put tht horse into the Grand Prix. And the GP is where the prize money is.

No one complained when Nick Skelton stopped jumping NC on Arco but was still winning the GPs on him.

If you only have 1 top horse do you ride for your country or ride for the money so that you can keep riding?

Maybe Ellen and her Dad are hoping that RH won't be around by 2012 so she'll still get on the Olympic team - who kows anything about backroom politics
 

SJFAN

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Ellen does have another GP horse on the international circuit, Locarno, her European Championship partner. Unfortunately since his comeback from the most recent long lay-off he hasn't gone well enough for her to start him in a GP. It was James Fisher not Ellen who produced Ocolado to Grade A.
 
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seems that majority postings feel negative toward EW for making decision on how best to manage her top class horse. Like everyone else I perhaps do not know the full facts but without a doubt Ellen is the future of british showjumping and anyone who tries to pretend she is other than top class is being foolish. My children hero worship EW and we have followed her career for a few years now because of this.The posting suggesting Ellen should "try smiling occasionally" is being extremely unkind as are those suggesting she is throwing a tantrum or being arrogant. We have watched ellen at shows and my children have approached her for autographs and to speak several times. i certainly have never detected any hint of arrogance or unpleasantness and am so delighted the youngest budding showjumpers have such a perfect role model. As far as I can see EW has absolutely no "question mark" surrounding either her talent, proffessionalism or personality. She is just trying to do whats best for her horse.
As for the appointment of RH there was no doubt showjumping needed a character who could pull our team together and talking of question marks it seemed he had plenty so to start blaming EW seems a bit rich!
 

SusieT

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I suspect nobody is 'upset' that she is not jumping for the team-we have ample good riders, but more that it was dragged through the media in this way. I have no opinions either way on RH, but at least he wasn't grabbing headlines with it..
Be interesting to see who gets an olympic selection now
 

kit279

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I don't really follow the ins and outs of team showjumping but strikes me that a dignified silence and the courage of one's convictions would have been a better policy than bitching to H&H that Hoekstra 'just doesn't listen'. Infighting is not an attractive spectacle when written down in the press...
 

TarrSteps

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I don't really follow the ins and outs of team showjumping but strikes me that a dignified silence and the courage of one's convictions would have been a better policy than bitching to H&H that Hoekstra 'just doesn't listen'. Infighting is not an attractive spectacle when written down in the press...
I think that's really what people are taking issue with. It is absolutely Ellen's prerogative and to her credit to make the best choices for her horses, herself and her owners. And if those decisions clash with the direction the Team has decided to go in, so be it. But it's the drama of this that puts people off. Obviously none of us know what's going on behind the scenes but we don't know EITHER story.
 

SazzyB

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It seems like as a nation we have not done particularly well in show jumping in recent years - unlike eventing for example - and so if the previous management led plan wasn't working then why not change the management and get some new ideas. If that means new team members then great! We want to be proud of our show jumping team again, we want them to win, and personally I would like to see good riders up there, team players, and those who have the ability to ride for their country. I don't know Ellen, so have no view on her either way, but I am quite surprised that she doesn't do even better than she has, because lets face it, she has the money, the background, the training, etc. to have the best horses and has had the best experience, so she should be good at what she does.

I would love to see some new blood in the show jumping teams.
 

tasel

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Nothing against Ellen Whitaker, but to be honest, I don't really mind not seeing a name that ends with 'Whitaker' on the board once in a while. It annoys me a little that one family can have such a strong hold in this discipline. For sure, there are families that are widely represented in the equestrian sport even in other countries, such as the Beerbaums in Germany... but it's not like every single individual from that family, for example, was heading straight for a career in SJ. Here, you see the Whitakers in Pony Club, Young Riders... all the way to the top. It gets a little boring, and it doesn't help making the sport seem less 'elitist' if one family dominates it all. Fact is, they had the advantage of having had great ponies and horses to ride ever since they could walk - I would have liked to see whether they could have made it this far learning on your typical riding school ponies/horses that wouldn't even move off your leg. I am more amazed by riders who get to the top without that big advantage - as that would have meant they got there by pure merit more than anything else.

Back to the subject matter: as far as I know, being in a team means listening to your coach. It means making compromises, and sometimes you might not get your way. I don't know what they mean with "making money" for the owners through winning prizes but as far as I can see, there's no money to be made in the sport unless one sells the horse. The few thousand Euros that Ellen would have won in the tournament she went to instead of La Baule (she didn't come first - which is where most of the money goes), wouldn't have been enough to cover the cost of participating in the event in the first place, if you look at transport, paying the Whitakers the cost of preparing the horse, and then the competition fee, accommodation, etc.

The Whitakers are almost regarded as equestrian royalty in this country, and I think it's just a case of them wanting it to be made clear that they do things their way rather than the way Rob Hoeksta wants to do it. However, good for Hoekstra to stand his ground - otherwise, he'd just be another puppet in the royal court of the Whitakers.
 
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mulbry

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Can someone please explain to those of us apparently not in the loop what exactly the problem is that so many posters seem to have with the Whitaker family? I'm frankly a little bewildered by the snide comments that crop up time and time again when a story involving the family appears. I'm genuinely not trying to pick a fight, I honestly don't get where the vitriol comes from.

I understand that the younger generation has had advantages brought about by the success of John and Michael but you've still got to know what to do with the horsepower underneath you once you get it. From the outside looking in it honestly looks like plain and simple jealousy. Perhaps I'm reading it wrong in which case please enlighten me.

As for this case, yes I'm surprised at the decision and a little disappointed in the manner in which it has come to light but at the end of the day it's Ellen's choice. We do certainly have many very talented riders capable of representing their country well at the highest level but I can't help but feel that if it were a different rider/family involved there would have been far less criticism.
 

Ranyhyn

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IMHO I have seen far too much bad behaviour and attitude from Ellen, and that is the reason I'm not impressed with this latest story. As for the rest of the family I havent seen anything bad and therefore my dislike is for her rather than the Whitakers per se.
 

tasel

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Mulbry - More often than not, the latter generations of families that tend to have too much grip on an industry have that "sense of entitlement" about them that can be translated into brat-like behaviour. This is the case in many industries and not just the equestrian sport. It is very difficult in that situation to grow up modestly - though I do think one or two of the younger Whitakers might have accomplished this.

My point against them really is that it gets boring to see the same family again and again, and it's almost a given that they will win certain competitions, and thus get offered some of the best rides - leaving other young riders, who may be just as good if not better, less opportunities to shine.
 

joe_carby

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Nothing against Ellen Whitaker, but to be honest, I don't really mind not seeing a name that ends with 'Whitaker' on the board once in a while. It annoys me a little that one family can have such a strong hold in this discipline. For sure, there are families that are widely represented in the equestrian sport even in other countries, such as the Beerbaums in Germany... but it's not like every single individual from that family, for example, was heading straight for a career in SJ. Here, you see the Whitakers in Pony Club, Young Riders... all the way to the top. It gets a little boring, and it doesn't help making the sport seem less 'elitist' if one family dominates it all. Fact is, they had the advantage of having had great ponies and horses to ride ever since they could walk - I would have liked to see whether they could have made it this far learning on your typical riding school ponies/horses that wouldn't even move off your leg. I am more amazed by riders who get to the top without that big advantage - as that would have meant they got there by pure merit more than anything else.

Back to the subject matter: as far as I know, being in a team means listening to your coach. It means making compromises, and sometimes you might not get your way. I don't know what they mean with "making money" for the owners through winning prizes but as far as I can see, there's no money to be made in the sport unless one sells the horse. The few thousand Euros that Ellen would have won in the tournament she went to instead of La Baule (she didn't come first - which is where most of the money goes), wouldn't have been enough to cover the cost of participating in the event in the first place, if you look at transport, paying the Whitakers the cost of preparing the horse, and then the competition fee, accommodation, etc.

The Whitakers are almost regarded as equestrian royalty in this country, and I think it's just a case of them wanting it to be made clear that they do things their way rather than the way Rob Hoeksta wants to do it. However, good for Hoekstra to stand his ground - otherwise, he'd just be another puppet in the royal court of the Whitakers.

this comment shows how little you know about how the whitaker dynasty started off. my mother used to compete at them when they where younger micheal, steven and john that is they used to turn up to competitions on the horse that their dad used to use for his milk round.

they are only in the public eye for being in all the teams because the selectors picked themthats not their fault. yes granted the younger whitakers have better oppertunities now but lets face it if you worked hard all your life and had the chance to give your childrens life a boost by getting them a nice and talented pony let me guess you would go and get them an old numb to the leg pony with behavioural issues beacuse its not fair if your child has a good pony and others havent no course you wouldnt not in a million years.

i no for a fact that they have to work with some very difficult horses and work some very long hours. many of the horses they have are home produced from unbroken youngsters and yes ok the horses are potentially very talented but you still have to have the ability to unlock the talent once the horse is backed which with some of the horses there i wouldnt stay on their back for 10 seconds never mind school it and jump it ect.

with regards to going to a show instead of le baule the show she went to was newark and notts there was a lorry load going from the yard again the majority were horses that were home produced going to their 1st county level competition. if like you say she won a few grand which i havent got a clue what she won then she will have had quite a profitable day if it costs a few grand to take a horse to a show a couple of hours down the road then id suggest they have the lorry checked because something obviously isnt running right. yet she should pay to travel 1 horse all the way to le baule compete and what ever it costs her over there then pay to travel 1 horse back surely going to newark and notts made better buisness sense????

at this point in time she only has 1 horse with the ability to compete at the level that oli can so if he gets injured jumping too much then what does she do? are you going to provide her with the horse power?

she didnt say she wouldnt jump for them what she did say is that she had to combine the 2 she needed to be jumping to make money at the same time i understand that its rob's job to manage the team and she couldnt fit in how he wanted so she pulled out.
 

Minxie

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Slightly off subject. Well actually well off subject.

But there has also been an incident when a horse wasn't made available to the GB team.

The legendary Milton's owners (Caroline Bradley's parents) made it clear to John Whittaker when they offered him Milton that he would not be allowed to go to the 1988 Seoul Olympics as they were worried about him travelling, illnesses etc.

I remember it was commentated on up to and during the games but I don't remember anybody expressing resent for the fact he wasn't there which you may have expected taking that he was the world's number one horse at the time.

I'm not making any point - just thought i'd post :)
 

TarrSteps

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Re: Milton, he wasn't made available for the '88 Games because he had originally been intended to be Caroline's Olympic mount and her parents said all along they would not send him with anyone else. In fact, although John seemed very sanguine about it, at least in print, I remember quite a bit of fussing about the decision and general feeling that he was Team GB's best chance at a medal, but was being denied the chance for such an "unrealistic" reason. They succumbed to the pressure and sent him in '92 but the feeling was he'd gone off the boil by that point.

Interestingly, the fuss was the other way at that point - the feeling being who wouldn't want to win an Olympic medal if there was even the possibility? He and Big Ben were battling for top honours at the time and I think many people felt it was denying the horse another card in his hand of greatness. Of course, Ian had his usual lackluster Games so all a bit moot in the end.

To be honest, aside from the adverse publicity (I can see the Whitaker's point that Ellen's decision needs justifying in the press, it's just unfortunate it comes at such a sensitive time with a new coach in charge) I don't think it's such a major deal. It means someone else will get a chance to succeed or fail on their own merits. Sure, there will always be people saying "if only . . ." but they always do that, no matter what decisions are made.
 

SJFAN

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In the run-up to the 1988 Olympics the British powers that be made it clear to the Bradleys that if he were not to be available for the Games, Milton would not be selected for Nations Cup teams, which meant that he was not able to compete at the shows offering the best prize money that year.

As a team member Ellen would not have had to pay to go to La Baule whereas she or rather the owners of her horses do have to pay to go to other events, such as Wiesbaden where she is competing at present.
 

tasel

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this comment shows how little you know about how the whitaker dynasty started off. my mother used to compete at them when they where younger micheal, steven and john that is they used to turn up to competitions on the horse that their dad used to use for his milk round.

they are only in the public eye for being in all the teams because the selectors picked themthats not their fault. yes granted the younger whitakers have better oppertunities now but lets face it if you worked hard all your life and had the chance to give your childrens life a boost by getting them a nice and talented pony let me guess you would go and get them an old numb to the leg pony with behavioural issues beacuse its not fair if your child has a good pony and others havent no course you wouldnt not in a million years.

i no for a fact that they have to work with some very difficult horses and work some very long hours. many of the horses they have are home produced from unbroken youngsters and yes ok the horses are potentially very talented but you still have to have the ability to unlock the talent once the horse is backed which with some of the horses there i wouldnt stay on their back for 10 seconds never mind school it and jump it ect.

with regards to going to a show instead of le baule the show she went to was newark and notts there was a lorry load going from the yard again the majority were horses that were home produced going to their 1st county level competition. if like you say she won a few grand which i havent got a clue what she won then she will have had quite a profitable day if it costs a few grand to take a horse to a show a couple of hours down the road then id suggest they have the lorry checked because something obviously isnt running right. yet she should pay to travel 1 horse all the way to le baule compete and what ever it costs her over there then pay to travel 1 horse back surely going to newark and notts made better buisness sense????

at this point in time she only has 1 horse with the ability to compete at the level that oli can so if he gets injured jumping too much then what does she do? are you going to provide her with the horse power?

she didnt say she wouldnt jump for them what she did say is that she had to combine the 2 she needed to be jumping to make money at the same time i understand that its rob's job to manage the team and she couldnt fit in how he wanted so she pulled out.

Joe Carby - I know full well the history of the Whitaker "dynasty". I was not complaining about the elder generation either. I know about how they got their start through Donald and Enid Whitaker - Donald being a farmer who didn't really ride and Enid being the one teaching her sons to ride. I said that it's often the younger generation that tends to become known to be more spoilt... like with any family that becomes "established" whether it be in the equestrian sport or not.

The tournament I was referring to was NOT Newark and Notts - you've got your dates wrong here (and yet accuse me of not having done my research!!!). Newark and Notts was the weekend before La Baule, and on the weekend of La Baule, Ellen was in Hamburg (i.e. Germany) which by the way is geographically further away than La Baule (in France).

If it was really just as innocent as you want to make it out to be - why say in the press that they would refuse to ride for Britain "until Rob Hoekstra is finished"??? I don't know how that sounds to you, but if someone said that about me, I'd be deeply insulted. And it says something, when all articles mention that BSJA backs Hoekstra in this matter/dispute.
 
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joe_carby

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sorry if i have the dates wrong then i got the dates wrong. the main point i was trying to get over was that in my opinion how your post read was that the younger generation didnt do anything to get where they are, which is totally out of order, and if you know how they started then surely you under stand that micheal steven and john are bound to give there kids the kick start in life that they never got.

i tend not to believe everything thats written in print as half of it is usually hyped up and exagerated, and other parts of the story missed out. you can never no the whole story of whats happened behind the scenes so its abit harsh to start slating someone on an article in a magazine.
 

zoeshiloh

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Well, I thought I would have my two cents worth, despite knowing nothing really about the ins and outs of BSJA/BS.

To the uneducated of us, it looks like Ellen and her father are trying to blackmail BS into getting rid of RH - it basically seems like a hissy fit to me. I can understand her point (wanting to manage her own horse) but there was no need to go running to the press about it - some sports try above and beyond to keep these things private, but the whitakers do have a tendancy to run to H&H everytime something happens that they do not agree with.

Now, I have a lot of respect for what the whitakers have achieved, but are they victims of their own success? I know that the older chaps got there through hard work, grit and determination, but there can be no denying that the younger generation has had it easy (or easier at least). They can pick and choose what horses they ride, they can refuse to ride nasty or difficult horses - a lot of our top riders cannot afford that pleasure.

The British public (especially the equestrians among us) have a big loyalty to the whitaker family - we grew up hearing their names, reading their names, and seeing their faces week in week out in magazines, and on TV. If someone moderatly unknown was to make such a statement as "I'm not riding for GB until so-and-so is no longer" the majority of us would say "so what" or accuse them of being unpatriotic. Because the Whitakers have formed the backbone of british jumping for so long, a lot of people automatically assume that they are in the right.

I lost a little respect for the Whitaker family when I saw a certain member warming up at Towerlands a few years ago - he went into the ring wearing combat trousers ??? and when the collecting ring steward (or whoever it was) mentioned it, his retort was "tell my father if you dare to"... Is that anyway to behave if you want some respect?

Something else I would be VERY interested to know.... Is Ellen Whitaker receiving 2012 pathway (or whatever it is referred to as) money, and if so, should this now be stopped as she is "not available for british teams" - surely the money should now go to someone who is available??

Just my uneducated musings...
 

Amelia27

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I'm absolutely delighted that she isn't on the team :D I can't stand the girl - I've seen her lose the plot with her horse far too many times in public and can only imagine what goes on at home :mad:

Nothing hugely against the rest of her family - John was my childhood hero and I think it's quite amazing how well they have all done and what they have achieved. It's just that I sometimes worry about the methods they've used to get there
 

JDChaser

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John himself has said that competing for your country is the highest honour and should come above everything, so who knows what he thinks of all this.
 

tasel

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zoeshiloh - you said exactly what was on my mind.

I know the senior Whitakers got there through hard work and determination, but worshipping a "dynasty" (i.e. kids included) is in my opinion utterly nonsense. If I was to look at the younger generations' performance based on merit alone, I would have to discount the advantages they had in life and compare them to riders worldwide. If you think about it, they have the name, they got intensive equestrian education pretty much for free with some of the best people in the business (unlike most parents who will have to pay over a thousand pounds a year for weekly lessons), they got the best ponies growing up and legendary horses to ride once they were ready to move on to bigger things. It can be assumed that most their life, they never had to train for a career outside the equestrian sport. If I look at all that and look at their performance on a worldwide basis, their performance becomes distinctively average. The highest in the Rolex Rankings is Robert at No. 47, followed by Ellen at No. 54. They are outdone by people who at one point in life or another even trained to do something else other than riding - which I thought would have proved to be a disadvantage to them as they couldn't focus entirely on their equestrian career. But obviously, they had to - and often were even made to do so by their parents - as riding isn't really a career path that guarantees stability in life. Those are the people I look up to more, as somehow they have shown they could multi-task and still win against all odds. That's why I loved seeing the German eventer Hinrich Romeike winning gold in Hong Kong with his beloved horse Marius. He is a dentist, and beat the professiossionals at their game. Now, that's what I call performance. On top of that, though confident, he is fairly modest - he continues being a dentist and once even said that his horse never made any mistakes, it's him who usually did so.

joe_carby - getting the dates wrong rendered your argument that it was indeed about money for the Whitakers invalid. And yes, I tend to believe nothing I read in The Sun either, but given that H&H couldn't have made up Rob Hoekstra's "No Comment" approach (The Sun would have made something up instead), I do believe they haven't just put those words into the Whitakers' mouths.
 

PaddyMonty

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but there can be no denying that the younger generation has had it easy (or easier at least). They can pick and choose what horses they ride, they can refuse to ride nasty or difficult horses - a lot of our top riders cannot afford that pleasure.
If you'd ever seen stephen training ellen I think you might have a different view ;)

The way I see it RH wanted ellen on the team because she IS successful, not because she COULD be successful. As she is already at the top of the game then they must be doing something right. To then start telling S and E where and when to compete is IMHO a little out of order.

E has already represented GB on many occasions so its not a case of not wanting to as I see it, more a case of not being told how to manage an already successful horse. Seems reasonable to me.

Then again I'm sure we only hear less than half the real story. :confused:
 
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