Geoff Billington
Horse & Hound|November 26, 2020
The Olympic showjumper on keeping checklists, the life-changing It’s Otto, the joys of a personalized horsebox and finding a rich wife…
Jennifer Donald

THE best piece of advice my dad gave me was: “Be nice to people on the way up because you might meet them on the way down.”

My parents had nothing to do with horses when I started out but they became massive supporters. John Whitaker and I first met when we were 12 and our parents became good friends, so they used to travel to all the shows together.

Harvey Smith and David Broome were our heroes. I started watching the Horse of the Year Show on television when I was about nine and they were the most prominent riders then. At that age, I don’t suppose I dreamed that one day I’d be riding against them but it’s funny how life goes – we became fellow competitors and then good friends.

The biggest change in my riding is that I always wear a hat now. In the old days, nobody wore one unless you were in the ring and, before chinstraps, if your hat was wobbling about you’d just throw it off. But I’ve seen enough accidents for it to have been an important lesson, and I’d never get on a horse without one now.

FINDING THE KEY

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