British rider Oliver Townend (34), who is based near Ellesmere in Shropshire, is a former winner of Badminton and Burghley. He is currently ranked eighth in the FEI World rankings and at the end of 2016 was the BE leading rider for the third consecutive year. He is the current national champion – having won the 2016 British Open at Gatcombe.
Oliver is arguably the busiest rider on the circuit. Last year he had over 250 starts with over 30 wins. At the end of the year he even flew to Australia where he won the Adelaide CIC3* on a borrowed horse.
In 2015 he was an individual member of the British squad for the European Championships at Blair Castle finishing 17th (Fenyas Elegance).
Oliver began riding when he was seven years old, inheriting his love of horses from his parents. His father, Alan, competed in three-day eventing, while mother, Eve, showed side-saddle at county level. His first success came in show jumping at HOYS when he was 11, and at 13 he went on to represent Britain on the pony eventing team at the European Championships. Oliver quickly moved through the ranks and for three years was stable jockey to British team trainer, the late Kenneth Clawson in Leicestershire before going solo.
Oliver’s good result at his first Badminton in 2005 with Topping earned them an individual place on the 2005 British European Championship squad at Blenheim. With Flint Curtis, Oliver came third at Badminton in 2006 and rode as an individual at the Aachen WEG in the same year. In 2007 he won a team gold medal in Pratoni del Vivaro.
In 2009 Oliver joined the elite group of riders who have won back-to-back Badminton and Burghley titles. That year he also won the HSBC FEI Classics title and at the end of the 2009 season was top of the BE rider rankings for the first time.
In 2014, with Black Tie, he was an individual member of the British Squad for the WEG in France but retired cross country.
ODT Ghareeb owned by Kathleen Wilkinson & Rachael Wood, is a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. He is by the successful thoroughbred sire Ghareeb also the sire of four-star horses Coolio, Kilronan, Trig Point as well as Oliver’s ride MHS King Joules. He was acquired by Oliver as a five-year-old at the end of 2009. Last year he was second in the CCI3* at Blair Castle; Badminton will be the horse’s first four-star
Samuel Thomas owned by Comfi Ltd & Sue Chadwick, is a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. He is by the thoroughbred El Rio out of Barnard Que by the thoroughbred Arctic Que. He was produced to three-star level by owner Sue Chadwick and Oliver took the ride at the end of 2014. In 2016 the pair was 7th at Burghley.
MHS King Joules, owned by Tom Joules, is a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse (ISH) gelding. He is by the Thoroughbred Ghareeb (also the sire of Oliver’s ride ODT Ghareeb) out of a mare by Cavalier Royale. He was first ridden to three-star level by Mary King and then the ride was passed to Andrew Nicholson. Oliver gained the ride after Andrew was injured in a fall at Gatcombe 2015. The pair started at Burghley last year but retired on the cross county
Spanish Sports horse,
17.0hh , chestnut , gelding
Dam Berganza - 17
Breeder Ramon Becker
Owner(s): Paul & Diana Ridgeon, Haslingfield, Cambs.
16.1hh , black , gelding
Dam Deebee Lady (Brillant Invader)
Owner(s): Karyn Shuter, Wallingford, Oxon.
16.2hh , bay , gelding
Dam Castlemorris Hope (Furisto )
Breeder Teresa Walsh
Owner(s): Michael McGrath, Cork, Ireland.
MHS King Joules
16.3hh , bay , gelding
Dam Gowran Lady (Cavalier Royal )
Breeder Ida Brennan
Owner(s): Tom Joules, Market Harborough, Leics.