British rider Oliver Townend (35), who is based near Ellesmere in Shropshire, is a former winner of Badminton (2009) and has completed the event 11 times. Last year with Badminton entry Ballaghmor Class he won Burghley for the second time and was a member of the gold medal winning British team at the European Championships at Strzegom (Cooley SRS). One of the busiest riders on the circuit, he is currently ranked 11th in the FEI World rankings and at the end of 2017 was the BE leading rider for the fourth consecutive year.
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. In 2015 he completed Burghley with three horses and with Fenyas Elegance represented GB at the European Championships at Blair Castle. In 2016 he became National Champion after winning the British Open at Gatcombe.
Cooley SRS (aka Aero) is an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. Bred by John Fitzhenry he is by the British-based sire Ramiro B out of Ballynattin Pride by Kiltealy Spring. He has been produced by Oliver was ridden by him at the 2017 European Championships winning team gold although Badminton will be the horse’s first four-star.
Cooley Master Class (aka Cooley) is a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. He is by the British-based sire Ramiro B (also the sire of Cooley SRS) out of a mare by Master Imp.
Ballaghmor Class (aka Thomas) owned by Angela Hislop is an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. He is by Courage (also the sire of Ringwood Sky Boy, Cooley Rorkes Drift, Duke of Cavan) out of Kilderry Place. He has been ridden by Oliver since 2012 – Oliver won Burghley on him in 2017.
MHS King Joules (aka Jay) is a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse 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.
MHS King Joules
16.2hh , bay , gelding
Breeder Ita Brennan
Owner(s): Tom Joules, Market Harborough, Leics.
Irish Sport Horse,
16.3hh , bay , gelding
Dam Celestial Rose (Tulla Flight)
Breeder Sean Grier
Kathleen Wilkinson, Thirsk, N. Yorks.,
Rachel Wood, Alnwick, Northumberland
Samuel Thomas II
16.2hh , bay , gelding
Dam Barnard Que (Arctic Qur)
Komfi Ltd, Huddersfield, W. Yorks.
Sue Chadwick, Huddersfield, W. Yorks.