The 2020 British Olympic team gold medallist Oliver Townend (39), who is based near Ellesmere in Shropshire, is a former winner of Badminton (2009) and has achieved 15 completions. In 2019 he was second with his 2017 Burghley winner Ballaghmor Class – with who he won Lexington in May 2021 before riding to team gold in Tokyo (5th). With Cooley Master Class he has twice won Lexington 5* (2018 & ’19).
One of the busiest riders on the circuit, he is currently ranked #1 in the FEI world rider ranking and at the end of 2021 was 3rd in the BE top rider ranking.
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 former 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 European team gold 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 and in 2017 was a member of the British gold-medal winning British team at the European Championships at Strzegom (Cooley SRS). In 2019 with Cooley Master Class he was a member of the British team to win silver at the European championships.
Ballaghmor Class (aka Thomas) is a 15-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 – the pair has won Burghley (2017), Lexington (2021) and team gold at the Tokyo Olympic Games. In 2019 the pair was 2nd at Badminton.
Cooley Master Class (aka Cooley) owned by Angela Hislop is a 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. Bred by John Hagan He is by the formerly British-based sire Ramiro B (also the sire of Cooley SRS) out of a mare by Master Imp. He has been ridden by Oliver since 2012 and has been a winner at all levels. The pair won Lexington 2018 and 2019. In 2019 they were members of the silver medal team in the European championships at Luhmuhlen. In 2021 they were 2nd at Elkton 5*.
Swallow Springs, owned by Paul & Diana Ridgeon, is a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse grey gelding. Bred by Maria Keating his is by Chill Out (sire of Bonza King of Rouge) of a mare by the thoroughbred Cult Hero (sire of several four-star horses including The Deputy and Bay My Hero). He was previously produced and ridden by Andrew Nicholson – Oliver received the ride last year after Andrew’s retirement from international competition. He was originally acquired from Donal Barnwell as a five-year-old. With Andrew he was 3rd at Burghley in 2018 and in 2019 the pair was 5th at Badminton. In 2021 Oliver was 10th in the 4*L at Blenheim.
Ridire Dorcha, owned by Sophie Adams, is a 14-year-old Irish-bred, Irish Sport Horse. Bred by Jim Tempany he is by Limmerick out of a mare by Big Sink Hope. He was originally produced by Oliver to CIC3* level then in 2019 the ride was taken by British-based Australian Sophie Adams. Oliver took the ride back for Pau 2021 – the horses first 5* (6th).
Tregilder owned by The Hazeldines and Mitchell Fox & Co is a 12-year-old British-bred SHB(GB) registered gelding. Bred by Preci-Spark Ltd he is by Royal Concorde out of Trewins by Hand in Glove. He has been produced through the levels by Oliver. In 2021 the pair was 7th in the 5* at Bicton the first at the level for Tregilder
16.3hh , grey , gelding
Dam Kilderry Place
Breeder Noel Hickey
16.2hh , grey , gelding
Dam Kilila (Cult Hero)
Breeder Maria Keating
Owner(s): Paul & Diana Ridgeon
Cooley Master Class
16.2hh , bay , gelding
Sire Ramiro B
Dam The Swallow (Master Imp )
Breeder John Hagan
Owner(s): Angela Hislop
16.3hh , dark bay , gelding
Dam Skreenmor Dark Stranger (Big Sink Hope )
Breeder Jim Tempany
Owner(s): Sophie Adams
16.3hh , black , gelding
Sire Royal Concorde
Dam Trewins (Hand In Glove )
Breeder Preci Spark
Mitchell Fox & Co