John is one of the most admired Show Jumping riders worldwide and has won 14 team medals at Olympic, World or European championships in his long career. He was 18 when he first partnered Ryans Son, a horse with just 50p on his card when he went to John, and was described as the ‘odd looking one’.
The pair formed a partnership which was to last 14 years, the highlight of which was winning a Team Silver Medal at the Los Angeles Olympic Games. Milton became John’s partner in 1985, his first major win the Du Maurier Grand Prix in Spruce Meadows, Calgary in 1986. John retired Everest Milton at the 1994 Olympia Horse Show, Milton died July 4th 1999. In 1998 John was Leading Rider at the Volvo World Cup Final in Helsinki, he won the first two legs of the World Cup on the gallant 19 year old Virtual Village Grannusch.
In 1998 John won the Peugeot Derby at Hickstead on Gammon who at 21 is the oldest horse to have won the Derby. In 1999 John won the British Grand Prix at Hickstead and in 2000 the Peugeot Hickstead Derby riding Virtual Village Welham who was retired at the 2001 Derby meeting. A chance ride on Douglas Bunn’s – Buddy Bunn, due to William Funnell’s injury, gave John his fourth Derby victory in 2004.
John was part of the bronze medal winning team at the European Championships in 2007, this also gained crucial Olympic team qualification. Marital Status: Married to Clare Children: Louise (1980),Robert (1983) and Joanne (1987) Ranking: 2 on BSJA List 313 – June 2007- May 2008 Top horse(s): Peppermill Casino Utah van Erpecom Age when started riding/why: “I started riding when I was seven years old, my mother had a riding school.” Name of first horse/pony: Bonny Most admired rider(s) Harvey Smith Favourite competition venues: Gothenburg and Dublin What other career would you have chosen? I would have been a farmer Favourite meal: Roast beef Favourite drink: Tea Ideal holiday: Haymaking!