The best and most famous horse riders don’t necessarily come from money or a family that is interested in horses. Many of the riders mentioned made it through hard work and hustle to become a good horse rider and horseman.
10 Best Riders In The World (Equestrian Sports)
Isabell Werth (Dressage)
The german rider Isabell Werth competed in the Olympics for dressage 6 times and holds 7 Olympic Gold medals and 12 olympic medals which is the record for the most medals held for an equestrian athlete. In 2009 Isabelle’s horse Whisper was tested with an A sample and the banned substance fluphenazine came back positive. Isabell was banned from competition for 6 months and she stated that the substance was given to the horse to treat equine shivers. This incident did not ruin her reputation and she is still a loved dressage rider and trainer worldwide.
Pippa Funnell (Eventing)
Funnell competes in cross country and became the first woman ever to win the grand slam of eventing in 2003 and the burghley horse trials in 2019. Her path to success was not straight though as when she went from young rider to competing against seniors in the international competition ring her nerves got the best of her and her career didn’t take off until she was able to get help from sports psychologist Nicky Heath. Funnell holds 3 olympic games medals and is still actively competing today.
Michael Jung (Eventing)
Winner of the badminton horse trials in 2016 and the second rider ever to win the Grand Slam of eventing. Jung was also added into the Eventing Rider Association Hall of Fame in 2013.
Charlotte Dujardin (Dressage)
A British dressage rider that took the dressage world by storm on the horse Valegro after her trainer Carl Hester offered the gelding to her to ride in 2007 and then took team Gold Medal at her first ever European Championships. After 5 years of multiple wins and olympic titles, Dujardin retired Valegro in 2016.
On 19 April 2015 in Las Vegas, Dujardin and Valegro won the FEI World Cup with a score of 94.169% on the final day of competition. This was their fourth consecutive World Title; they are the only competition pair to have ever held four consecutive world titles
Anky van Grunsven (Dressage)
Anky is a dutch dressage rider that is very famous in the world of equestrian sports. Van Grunsven has competed on the highest level in dressage since 1982 with multiple wins and titles. Her most notable win was the Gold at the 2000 Olympics with the horse Bonfire.
Henrik von Eckermann (Show Jumping)
Henrik von Eckermann is a Swedish show jumper that may not be as well known as the other riders in this list, but he made his name famous recently as he is currently ranked as the world number one in the FEI rankings for showjumping. Von Eckermann is known as a shy person outside the show ring but his talent for horse rider has proven that you can make it to the top by being a gentle a kidn rider. Henrik believes in teaching the horse the basics is more important than jumping high regularly in training.
Beezie Madden (Show Jumping)
Beezie Madden is from United states and is a well known name in the world of show jumping as she has been on top of the podium many times, beating all the male riders that tend to win. Her most notable performances are two individual Olympic gold medals, one silver medal (team show jumping) and one individual bronze medal. Making her international show jumping debut in 1987 – Madden has been actively competing on the highest level for three decades!
For nearly three decades, Madden has represented the United States in the world’s most prestigious competitions becoming the first American to break into the top-three on the FEI Jumping World Ranking List. She was the first woman to pass the $1 million mark in earnings in the sport of jumping.
Mclain Ward (Show Jumping)
Mclain Ward is an American Show jumper with 5 Olympic medals. Growing up in a horse family his parents encouraged him to ride and thanks to his support at home he became the youngest rider at only 14 years old to win both the United States Equestrian Federation’s Show Jumping Derby and the USET medals finals.
Peder Fredricson (Show Jumping)
Peder Fredricson was on top of the worldwide FEI ranking in showjumping in 2021 which had been a longterm goal for him. Fredricson is known for his soft approach when training and handling horses and says that you need to be friends with your horses and can’t treat them like machines. He also made worldwide news when he showed up to international showjumping competitions without shoes on his horses. Peder is always testing and trialling different techniques and methods for his horses and has inspired other riders to try new things too and not be stuck in the norm and the old way of doing things.
Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (Dressage)
Jessica con Bredow-Werndl is a German dressage rider who currently holds the number one FEI ranking for dressage (2023) with her horse Tsf Dalera which she also won the 2020 individual gold olympic gold medasl with in 2020. She also has a huge following online with over 350,000 followers on instagram.
3 Best Jockeys In The World
Frankie Dettori is an italian jockey living in England that has been a successful jockey and trainer for over 3 decades.
Frankie went on to ride 233 winners in 1994 as he secured the first of three British jockeys’ championships. On 28 September 1996, he won all seven of his races, a feat which had never been accomplished before. Frankie has smashed almost all known horse racing records with over 40 victories at Royal Ascot alone.Aru
Kieren Fallon is a retired Irish jockey with over 2200 career wins. His career was far from perfect as he was charged for a crime involving ‘stopping’ other horses in the race from 2002-2004. He was not found guilty for this case but it did set a mark in his life as he was diagnosed with depression following the event. Fallon is still known as an incredible talent in the world of horse racing and seems to have recovered from his traumatic years at last.
The former champion jockey sought psychiatric help after facing years in prison for a crime he did not commit and falling victim to a News of the World sting, but his smile has returned at lastThe Guardian
Michelle is an Australian Jockey who made worldwide news in 2015 after she became the first (and only) female jockey ever to win the Melbourne cup. Michelle dreamt of being a jockey as a child and as a 7 year old she told her friends that she would one day win the Melbourne cup. In 2017 Payne was awarded the Longines Ladies Award in Washington USA for her noteworthy performance in a very male dominated industry.
3 Best Western Riders In The World
Trevor Brazile (Rodeo)
Trevor Brazile is one of the most well known Rodeo riders in United States as he holds 26 PRCA world championship titles which no other rider have ever done. Trevor is now semi retired but offers lessons and is still active on his social media for his fans to follow.
Hailey Kinsel (Barrel Racing)
Kinsel has won everything you can win in the world of Barrel racing with her horse ‘Sister’. Sister is her own horse that she bought as a barrel racing prospect as a 2 year old. However Hailey didn’t realize the horse’s talent and capabilities until years later as her training was far from perfect and it took a few years for Sister to bloom. Hailey is known for her strong bond with her horses as she lives on a farm with them and trains them herself.
Andrea Fappan (Reining)
Andrea Fappan is a famous Italian horse trainer in the reining discipline. He now resides in Arizona USA and offers online teaching classes on his website. Fappan has also made multiple movie appearances including Yellowstone (2018 TV Series) and The Last Cowboy (2019).
5 Best Horse Riders of All Time
Marion Coakes is a British competitive show jumper who was actively riding from 1960-1980. She won a silver medal at the 1968 Olympics which was huge at the time as the sport was very male dominated. Coakes was known for her thick skin and talents as a show jumper. She would also go to win the Hamburg Derby and won the Horse of The Year show in 1970.
Stark is a retired Scottish eventer who was actively competing 1970-2007. He retired following the Kentucky Three Day Event on the horse Full Circle II. His most notable performances are the individual silver medal at the 1984 Olympic games in eventing and Two silver medals in the World Championships in 1990 in eventing.
Shoemaker is known as the world’s best jockey through history. His small frame, weighing only 41kg allowed him to pursue a career as a jockey and lucky he did as he has a total of 8,833 career wins. He retired from racing in 1990 and his record with the most wins was broken by Laffit Pincay Junior in 2006.
The Whitaker family is well known in the world of showjumping with almost all of them competing on a high level in the sport. John is an individual gold medalist at the Hickstead Derby four times. John Whitaker has been actively competing on the highest level int he sport over 4 decades which makes him one of the most famous show jumpers worldwide, everyone knows of the Whitaker family.
He is best known for his partnership with the horse Milton with whom he won the Du Maunier Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows and won over £1 million in prize money before being retired in 1994.Wikipedia
Piggott was a successful jockey and trainer who was active in the racing world up until his death in 2022. Lester is mostly famous for inventing the ‘flat racing’ style when racing which has been imitated since by other jockeys. Lester’s career was filled with controversy and he spent a year in prison in 1987 for tax fraud.
10 Most Famous Horse Riders in The World
This list includes famous horseback riders through history that are not only known for their horse riding skills but also their businesses within the horse world.
- Monty Roberts – Horse trainer famous worldwide for his training method and horse tack for sale
- Jessica Springsteen – Bruce Springsteen’s daughter who is a competitive show jumper
- Buck Brannaman – A famous horse trainer that featured in the documentary ‘Buck’
- Robert Redford – American film maker and a good rider who directed the famous movie The horse whisperer
- Alycia Burton – A horse trainer from New Zealand who became famous from her free jumping youtube videos.
- Eve Jobs – Steve Jobs daughter who is a successful show jumper.
- Paul Schockemohle – A german rider and business man who owns the brand Schockemohle and who also bought the famous dressage gelding Totilas
- Alizee Froment – A french liberty and dressage trainer that is known for her tackless dressage performances
- Matt Harnacke – The worlds largest horse influencer with over 650,000 followers on instagram where you can follow his life as a dressage rider.
- Jennifer Gates – Bill Gates daughter who is a competitive show jumper and professional rider.