British rider Francis Whittington (38) who is based near Rotherfield, East Sussex was an individual member of the British squad for the 2015 European Championships at Blair Castle (Easy Target). With Hasty Imp he completed Badminton and Burghley.
In 2014 Francis won his first CCI3*at Blenheim in 2014 (Easy Target) and that year became the British Champion having been the highest placed rider in the CIC3* at Gatcombe (2nd with Easy Target).
Francis learnt to ride at his mother’s riding school and began competing with the Eridge Pony Club. Aged 16 he was selected for the British Pony squad with Northdown Nova and represented GB at the 1993 Pony European Championships in Hasselt (Belgium) winning team silver and individual gold.
Francis left school to pursue a career in horses and competed in Young Rider competitions, gaining second place at the British Young Rider Championships in 1997. He also trained as an equine dentist and after practising for ten years, decided to concentrate on eventing fulltime and now runs his yard in East Sussex.
He completed his first four-star at Burghley (2001) with a clear cross country round on Doonbeg Lady. In 2005 he won the Scottish Championships at Thirlestane with Spin Doctor and the following year completed his first Badminton with Osh Kosh.
He was reserve for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.
In 2010 he was hospitalised with suspected meningitis but competed at Badminton not long after although a fall towards the end of the course ended his competition. He was 10th at Burghley later in the year.
Francis trains with Ian Woodhead, James Burtwell.
Francis is married to Samantha and the couple has a seven-year-old son, Max and a three-year old daughter Amber. He is a BE accredited trainer and was a former Chairman of the Event Riders Association. Outside of eventing he enjoys going out with friends, World War history (reading WW1 novels) theatre and out of season spending time with the family.
His younger sister Bryony has also competed at four-star level and father Peter commentates at events in the south of England and wife Sam competes at the lower levels.
Hasty Imp, owned by Mrs Margaret Smith, is a 12-year-old Irish-bred gelding. He is by the thoroughbred Master Imp (sire of four-star horses High Kingdom, Master Crusoe, Mandiba, Ringwood Magister, ODT Master Rose) out of a mare by the thoroughbred Malibu Beach. Francis acquired Hasty Imp at the beginning of 2011 when he was competing in novice classes having been produced by Ken Spencer. He was acquired by Margaret Smith – Frances’ longest term owner, 18 months later. In 2014, Hasty Imp completed his first four-star at Burghley and last year completed Badminton and Burghley.
16.2hh, bay, gelding
Sire Master Imp
Dam Hasty Beach VII (Malibu Beach)
Owner(s): Margaret Smith, Polegate, E. Sussex