Ben Maher riding TicTac

With an average rider age of 52+ Great Britain’s chef d’equipe, Di Lampard, has indisputably focused on age and experience for her Rio 2016 jumping squad. Two members will be defending their team gold medal won in London 2012, but only one with the same horse: Nick Skelton (59) riding Big Star (Quick Star x Nimmerdor), and the ‘baby’ at 33, Ben Maher, on this occasion with the highly experienced Tic Tac/ex Tic Tac du Seigneur (Clinton x Darco), bred by SA Seigneur. Tic Tac was ridden with great success until 2014 by US international Leslie Burr-Howard, and earlier in his career by Belgium’s Jérôme Guery. With five Olympic appearances already under his belt (1984, 1992, 1996, 2000 ad 2008), John Whitaker, who will celebrate his 61st birthday on August 5 – the opening day of Rio 2016 – makes his Olympic comeback riding the 11-year-old mare Ornellaia/ex Kleine Cera (For Pleasure x Calato) bred by Harm Thormälen and previously ridden by François Mathy Jr., while younger brother Michael (56), saddles Cassionato (Cassini I x Quidam de Revel) for his fifth Games (1984, 1992, 1996, 2000). Bred by Günter Böning, Cassionato was briefly ridden by fellow team mate Nick Skelton in 2013. Ironically, Great Britain holds the record for the country with the most 50+ Olympic medals (20), and 27 of the 121 50+ medallists since 1896 have been in equestrian sport.