William Whitaker born 26th July 1989, is an international show jumper and member of Team GB. He originates from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire and is now based with his horses in Belgium. He is a scion of the famous Yorkshire Whitaker Show jumping Dynasty.
William grew up on his father’s farm, which is the family farm that was bought by his grandfather Donald back in 1957. He started to compete ponies at the age of 8 and only four years later he was winning the one of three Horse of the Year Show pony titles. Firstly, the 138cm championship on Mystic Starlight Express in 2001 then the Junior Foxhunter on Devlin in 2003 and lastly 1st & 2nd in the Leading Junior Showjumper of the Year on Indien de here and Colton Maelstrom in 2005. Following on with Team silver at the FEI Pony European Championships in Pratoni, Italy with Colton Maelstrom. During his transition from ponies to horses in 2006, William went to the USA and trained with American show jumper Aaron Vale and trainer Andrea King. Upon his return William went to work and train at his uncle, Michael Whitaker’s stables in Nottingham. He was FEI Junior European Team Bronze and Individual Gold medalist on Carnival Path at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Greece in the same year. 2007 and 2008 saw him pick up a European Young Rider Team Gold Medal with Carnival Path in Auvers, France and a European Young Rider Team Bronze medal in Prague, Czech Republic with Sarlino.
After six fantastic years riding for his Uncle Michael, William set up his own business in Huddersfield in 2011. He ran the stables at home together with his father Ian, Mother Alison, two brother’s George and James and his wife Elisabeth. Then in 2016 the opportunity came up to be based in Belgium to work with Ludwig and Yasmine Criel and their horses at their stables in Sint-Katelijne-Waver. William decided this was a great opportunity to work with the Criels aswell as being based in Central Europe with the horses from the owners he had been working together with in England.
Through the years William has won many prestigious competitions and has represented Team GB on many occasions, both at junior and senior level, winning two world cup qualifiers, firstly Mechelen in Belgium with Arielle and Stuttgart in Germany with Fandango. In 2017 William made his debut at Senior Championship level when he represented team GB at the FEI European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden with the Criel’s stallion Utamaro d’Ecaussines. He then went on to represent team GB again at the FEI Nations Cup Final in Barcelona.
In 2018 William was re-selected for the World Class Development Program at podium level. This is a program funded by UK Sport which is designed to help both horse and rider achieve their maximum potential through rigorous training and tutoring in many aspects of both human and equine science. He has been on the program since 2007.
Away from international competing William spends his time with his wife Elisabeth who is a noted Swedish Showjumper herself and their two children Isabella and Oliver. He is a big sport fan, he supports Huddersfield town and Manchester United football clubs.