As one of the UK’s top International Three Day Event riders, Kristina Cook, aged 45, has had an extraordinary career in the sport to become the competitor that she is now. Kristina was born into horses; her father, Josh Gifford, a champion jockey and mother, Althea Roger-Smith, a successful international showjumper, encouraged her ambitions from an early age and she began eventing full-time at sixteen years old. At the age of twenty, she won a Land Rover scholarship to be based at Gatcombe with Captain Mark Phillips, where she trained for a year and kick started her eventing career. She made her first British team appearance in 1987 as a Junior, with her first British Senior call up in 1988 where she took Individual Bronze at the European Championships on Smithstown Lad.
Since then, her success has snowballed, with major achievements including Team and Individual Bronze at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, Individual and Team Gold at the European Championships in Fontainbleu in 2009 and Team Gold at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky on Miners Frolic, who also went on to compete at the 2012 Olympics in London. She also took Team Silver on De Novo News at the 2014 World Equestrian Games.
Despite the loss of De Novo News, Kristina has remained focused on being selected for her third consecutive Olympic Games on either Calvino II or Billy the Red, both horses who she says are “nippy and agile, really good across country and careful jumpers who would cope with the heat”. Unusually for Kristina, both horses are warmbloods and not homebred, but acquired from others who started them at lower levels of the sport. As the Olympic track is not the biggest, she is planning her events for the season carefully and has focused competing Star Witness, her 4* horse at events such as The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, on whom she finished in 7th position after climbing from 42nd place before cross-country, but will be taking Billy the Red and Calvino II to
various CIC events to gain experience and step them up to the mark for Rio with improved consistency in the dressage. Kristina believes that after having fed Blue Chip Pro to her horses for many years, it provides them with a nutrient dense package as well as blood building ingredients that allow her to feel confident when asking more of her horses, as she is reassured that their recovery rates will be exceptional and maintain a competitive edge at this high level of competition.
Even though Kristina is firmly focused on her eventing career, she confesses that riding at top level as a single parent to Isabelle and Harry is a “mind boggling challenge” and has said that she wants to take stock of life again after Rio, even though despite her ten championship medals, a four-star win still eludes her. She admits that, at some point, she knows she “must accept her team days are over and actually earn some money” producing and selling horses to finally complete her long-planned house build at her yard in Findon, West Sussex to provide her children with a home to grow up in.
In the midst of a hectic life, Kristina always finds the time to credit her staff and horses as part of her success, and her mother, Althea Gifford and head girl Rachel Tolley have been through many of Kristina’s highs and lows. She has had to sacrifice some of life’s luxuries and home comforts to get to where she is today, but with a promising string of young, talented horses and a strong support network around her, Tina’s dreams of a four star win may not be too far away
Major Career Highlights
- 2008: Team & Individual Bronze Beijing Olympic Games riding Miners Frolic
- 2009: Individual and Team Gold at Fontainebleau European Championships (FRA), riding Miners Frolic
- 2010: Team Gold, World Equestrian Games, Kentucky (USA), 29th place individually with Miners Frolic
- 2012: 6th Position London Olympic Games riding Miners Frolic
- 2013: 9th position at Burghley Horse Trials 2013 on De Novo News
- 2014: Team Silver at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy on De Novo News
- 2016: 7th position The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 2016 on Star Witness
To watch Kristina in action and to hear her views on Blue Chip products, follow the links to our You Tube channel below:
Bramham Horse Trials Course Walk:
Blue Chip catches up with Kristina Cook:
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