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Michael Whitaker fails to win top prize at London International Horse Show

Theresa McCaffrey

One of the equestrian calendar’s biggest events took place this weekend.

Sadly, British jumper Michael Whitaker failed to take gold after his mare Elie van de Kolmen misread the final obstacle.

The London International Horse show took place at Olympia, where Whitaker took on Maikel van der Vleuten in the Masters competition.

Despite Whitaker taking an eighth of a second off van der Vleuten’s time, he lost the top prize of £10,500 to the Dutch rider after his horse knocked down a bar at the final fence.

Following the competition, Whitaker told the Yorkshire Post that his mare had “misunderstood” his instructions going into the final jump.

He said: “She jumped it a bit like a water jump.

“But she really is the part, and I have some big plans for her next year.

“She has been knocking on the door at a lot of the big shows. She has got very good experience and a good attitude.

“The Masters class is a good test for the horses.”

Whitaker then joked: “Maybe we should just spread the money out a bit more, but if you win it then you are not going to say that!”

Fellow Brits Laura Renwick and William Funnell finished equal third in the competition.

Van der Vleuten praised his horse VDL Groep Eureka, telling the newspaper: “It is a horse with a lot of quality, and now it is at the age of learning to jump some bigger classes.

“I wanted to ride a fast time, and also to put some pressure on Michael.”

Whitaker has a long career in showjumping, after beginning his international competition career at the 1976 Junior European Championships.

He has represented Great Britain on 181 Nations Cups teams, as well winning a team silver medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.