Show jumping has a new star family

By Derby House on |



Move over the Whitakers – the Charles family is on the charge.

In what represents a remarkable treble, Scarlett Charles, Sienna Charles and Harry Charles will all ride for Great Britain at the same Nations Cup event next month.

It is further evidence of a success story that continues to develop at the Charles family base in Hampshire, and all overseen by London Olympic British team gold medallist Peter Charles.

While Peter continues to perform at the highest level, his children are now also competing for the headlines.

When British Showjumping this week announced their pony, children on horses and junior squads for the Nations Cup show in Wierden, Holland from June 36, there were family connections everywhere.

Michael Whitaker’s 13-year-old son Jack has made the children on horses group, along with 12-year-old Oliver Fletcher – son of Tina and Graham Fletcher – while British eventing team showjumping coach Peter Murphy has seen his son Robert selected for the junior squad.

When experienced campaigners like Faye Adams and Millie Allen are added to the mix, it underlines the rich seam of talent currently on show at junior level.

Visitors to the Horse of the Year Show in Birmingham last October will have viewed the Charles production line in full flow.

Sienna won the HOYS 128cms Championship, which followed Harry’s success in the same class three years earlier, Scarlett’s 2012 triumph and then back-to-back victories for Sienna, a double success that made HOYS history.

Of the seven Charles family ponies that competed at HOYS, not one had a fence down.

And barely before the celebrations could die down, Harry won the Leading Pony Showjumper of the Year crown on Scoubidou IV, finishing on top after a pulsating jump-off when the top six combinations were separated by just 1.52 seconds.

Of the seven Charles family ponies that competed at HOYS, not one had a fence down.

“We are absolute sticklers for getting all the small things right,” Peter said. “There is no magic formula of one particular thing.


Harry Charles and Scoubidou

“The children are all taught to ride well, they all focus well and they all like to win, but they know how to win. You have to learn how to win.

“While children are growing up, riding and caring for ponies is a wonderful thing to do as a family. It teaches the children fantastic skills about how an animal works, and it gives them discipline. They can’t lose their temper with the pony because the pony won’t perform.

“If they keep continuing, there is no reason why any one of them couldn’t go on to become a fantastic rider one day if they want to, but there is a lot of hard work ahead.”

The Wierden Nations Cup will provide an important form guide and selection pointer for the main events this year – the Pony European Championships in Malmo from August 5-9, and the Children and Young Rider European Championships in Wiener Neustadt, Austria from August 10-16.

And the British contingent will look to build on last year’s European medal successes in Italy that saw the junior team of Jake Saywell, Jessica Mendoza, Christie Pritchard and Millie Allen win gold, while Jessica also won an individual bronze and Robert Murphy was crowned children’s individual gold medal winner, riding Del Fuego.


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