The Whitakers - Opinions?

Finnbob

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Just following on from the Katie Price thread got me wondering about your opinion on the Whitakers? Obviously we all know how amazing Michael and John are but the ones I'm really talking about are the next generation. Just wondering whether people think they are naturally talented riders or whether anyone born into world class horses and training etc would reach their level?

Just thinking if I was an owner and was looking for a young rider would I pick the local talented but poor kid who keeps their horses in a rented field and hacks to local shows etc or would I give the ride to one of the little whitakers (or other showjumping family!) where the horse would have a perhaps not so talented rider but the facilities and training and finances where it may go further. My fictional good horse could be just what the 1st kid needed to get their name out there and move them up the ranks and make a name for themselves etc but I think 95% of people would give the ride to the 5* yard

Not trying to cause an argument here, just wondering peoples opinions really, are they all born with an amazing horsey talent gene or are they the product of amazing training from day one (from horses and humans!)

Will be interesting to see what other people think...
 

jules89

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I think they have an amazing amount of talent, but the training certainly helps to develop that talent in the correct way
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SJFAN

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Agree with Jules89. However if you were an owner, I'd suggest backing the talented local kid who needs help - think you'd find it more emotionally rewarding. Let's not foregt that John & Michael came from a hardworking family who could not afford to spend much on ponies & horses. Helping someone else just might lay foundations of another sj dynasty!
 

Baggybreeches

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It would depend on my ultimate goal. Putting a horse with a talented kid is all very well, but they may not be able to reach the level they aspire to simply because of lack of knowledge, and without a support network behind them I doubt anyone would make it very far.
 

SJFAN

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Certainly, I'd want a good experienced trainer/mentor involved in the arrangement. Again I must point our that John and Michael didn't, though of course their parents knew plenty about horses, and their mother taught them to ride.
 

Nailed

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my view on the whittakers

socially impaired, crap sense of humour, but my god they have talent,

privlaged or not.. no amount of training will get you to that level unless you have somr core talent

lou x
 

natalia

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I would put my talented horse with the person with the most amount of experience and back up. i don't want my talented hose being ruined by ignorance and lack of training. I have in the past had super BSJA ponies, and we do have young BSJA riders on the yard, but TBH I would rather send a really good pony off to a top level home for a few months to produce it further, get it seen in the right circles etc. than have one of our yard jockeys ride it. This might seem odd, but when you have a super talented horse or pony, its worth too much financially for it too go wrong in any way, and although the local kid might have talent, I would rather have any of mine prof. produced on with kids riding under instruction at all times to minimise risk and then the rest of the schooling left to either myself or a trusted friend or trainer.
 

MagicMelon

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I think talent is something which develops. The younger Whitakers IMO simply have had the means to develop a good talent for it, the amazing training and horses they have of course contributes. Im sure there are just as talented riders who just arent noticed as they cant afford better horses etc.
 

Finnbob

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Interesting!

I ask because it's something my non horsey friend mentioned the other day, we were watching the British Open on H&C and he was shocked at the amount of Whitakers and when I explained the relationship between them all he was shocked and did think it was a bit unfair on other competitors trying to make a name for themselves and the obv huge advantages of being a Whitaker

But at the end of the day he did agree if it was his kids he wouldn't begrudge them the huge opportunity plenty of us lot would kill for.

William Whitaker is one of my favourite riders, he always looks so calm and in control!
 

Skhosu

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But if you're born into it..it's not maybe they're choice to have the 'name' and be assumed they get where they do because of it?
I would say they are a very horsey family, also very prolific and with a lot of money now behind them ( and experience in producing children and horses!) the kids develop well.
I haven't really seen one of the younger generation looking non-talented, particularly william.
And the talented local rider might not be more talented, assuming they are because they have a lack of facilities is a bit silly. However they might suit the pony more.
And don't forget an awful lot of these pony riders have serious money behind them (probably more so than the whittaker clan...)
 

horseywelsh

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in my opinion all whitakers are extremely talented and have proven results at different levels on different horses.

yes, it must be easier "born" into that environment with all the facilities/training you culd want, BUT they still have to have the talent, the motivation and the aspiration to achieve the great things they do.
 

Thunderbirds R Gone

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I was at a BSJA competition this week and George and Louise Whitaker were there competing a couple of youngsters in the Discovery.

I have to say after watching them in the warm-up their riding and attitude was first class. The horses, especially the one that George was on was far from easy or straightforward, quite naughty. They were very down to earth, did not have an entourage with them, both got off several times to put the jump up or down themselves when no-one else was near to alter them. When someone was around they very politely asked if the jump could be altered.

They were very quiet, unassuming people who did not take over the warm-up like many riders do.

George went on to win the class, and all credit to him.

I wish the Whitakers all the best, they are very naturally talented riders and hard work is put in at all levels to produce the horses that we see on television.
 

joe_carby

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i have grown up with Joe, Tom, Donald (stevens kids) since i was probably about 2/3 they are some of the calmest riders i have ever watched especially Joe and Tom. for a good few years now Joe has just had youngsters and no "major" horses like his sister everything he has had has had a problem meaning he hasnt been able to have a string of of horses leaving him with the youngsters. he has recently got a share in a horse called Shearwater Upanda who is now starting to do very well and another (cant remember its name).

Yes they have fantastic facilities but that doesnt meen they dont work hard for it early mornings however many horses to muck out only after this is done can they ride meaning that they have to ride till whatever time at night till they are all done.

I know Joe and Tom are looking for horses to add to their few and i know they would put the work in.

at the end of the day in that family if you dont work hard you dont get anything whether u have the facilities or not.

IF your serious bout thinking of a whitaker feel free to PM me.
 

kerilli

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being born into it and having all those privileges is not everything... look at Marie Edgar, who never got to top level (i heard she lost her bottle, i don't know if it's true though.)
so, for all the advantages they have, they obviously have a LOT of talent too. I agree about William W, i think he's waaay better than the other junior Whitakers.
 

Ludi-doodi

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QR Funnily enough I was watching an interview the Claire Whittaker on Horsehero just last night. She said that daughter Louise has more natural talent that Robert but that Robert has more desire and ambition. She also said that when they were kids they didn't have lessons but just let them 'play' with their ponies. The whole piece started with an interview with Robert and have to agree with Nailed's comment- he was a shockingly bad interviewer, gave no real answers to the questions and just ermm'd and ahh'd mostly.
 

SJFAN

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I've not seen that interview yet. However, I was actually surprised at how well he interviewd during a press session at the British Open in 2007. But it may have been because that was a less intimidating setting than being aware of a camera.
 

I love my Spanish horse

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Me and my friend/boss/ trainer met Robert at the open as she was looking at buying on of his horses, or i think one his girlfriend mostly rides.
I have to say he was one of the nicest most polite and down to earth people ive met, didnt know either of us that well, and im very much an amateur, totally nowhere near their league, yet he still spoke to me in the same way as any other rider/ owner or professional he works alongside, which is more than can be said for some ive met. Just because he isnt a fan of cameras or being in the spotlight dosent mean he has a crap sense of humour or isnt as nice or pleasant a person as someone who is
 

dieseldog

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Ted Edgar is a good example, he was responsible for a lot of peoples careers, they just didn't have the same surname as him. Nick Skelton being just one of them.

I think it depends how good your horse is. Harvey Smith had a horse with a good local rider and has just moved it to John Whitaker - why, because with the girl it wasn't getting picked to go on teams or get invited to International Shows, even though it was good enough.
 

SJFAN

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Well Steven doesn't compete now and I think Robert might be too heavy for Sultano. Sultano actually used to be ridden by Harvey's grandson, Joel Parkinson when he was still in Yorkshire.
 

Finnbob

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Just to clarify I wasn't having a go at the Whitakers I just wondered other horsey peoples opinions, after talking to my non horsey friend he had a completely different perspective!

(and when I said about having a fictional good horse I meant just that - fictional!)
 

LEC

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If you look at any other sport in the world you would not get the number of people from one family coming through into the sport and that is because horse riding does not require much talent/natural ability. In football you might get father/son like the Rednapps but that is about it.

Horse riding can be taught more than any other sport. It does not matter what physiology you have and if you have the right tools you will get a long way i.e. support, horses, training. This is why I think the Whitakers are so dominant. They have the ponies from day one, the training, facilities and also the back up/support.
 

SJFAN

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I know I keep harking back to John & Michael, but I first saw John competing when he was 17 and it was obvious he had great natural ability. Always looked as if he was actually part of the horse. That is always an advantage he and others similarly blessed (David Broome was another) have over riders who have to work harder and take more tuition. They do the right things instinctively.
 

dingle12

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They are all down to earth Louise and Rob are really nice ive had a lot of laughs with them in Pony club. However Ellen is abit up her own arse
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im sorry to say its all gone to her head.
 

Flame_

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I agree with everything lec says, but I do love the way the Whitakers ride such quirky horses. The rides the younger generation have, and had even when they were much younger, might be awesome jumpers but they never look easy rides. I'm not saying that other riders couldn't ride those quirky horses, just that the Whitakers don't have machines and that they deserve credit for not just getting carried as far as they could be by schoolmasters.
 

SJFAN

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Joel is Steven's son but uses his morther's name as his parents were not together.
Joel rode Sultano before Laura, and the horse always looked a good prospect.
 
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