Me and my kit

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The Independent Online
JOHN WHITAKER - Olympic show jumper

WHEN I travel abroad I take everything except the kitchen sink, but most of it is for my horse Milton, not me.

My kit is pretty standard: one hat, two coats, several shirts, no gloves - I don't wear them - and two pairs of boots. But I do have a favourite pair that were hand-made for me by Vogel in New York. I save them for the best shows, and I shall be wearing them today. They are very light and thin and they have ribbed soles, made of rubber or composition, so they grip the irons better. I brought five pairs of breeches to Barcelona and used two last Tuesday in the team championship because it was so hot and steamy the first pair got wet through.

I have several ties but sometimes if I go well at a show I tend to keep the same lucky tie without washing it and it gets pretty black by the end. Another important item is galoshes for wet weather. I've got some really thin ones to go over my boots that fit tightly so I can keep them on in the ring and you can't tell I'm wearing them.

Otherwise I take casual things like jeans and shorts, and then a team blazer with dark trousers for receptions and dinners. I very rarely need a dinner jacket. I should mention that my wife Clare packs both for me and the horses.

John Whitaker and Milton compete for Great Britain in the Olympic show jumping final in Barcelona today.

(Photograph omitted)