PEOPLE

BEN MAHER / Equestrian

Top British show jumper Ben Maher began riding at the age of 8. When Ben was 16, he left Saffron Walden County High School and began training with British rider Liz Edgar, before travelling to Switzerland where he spent two years riding for Swiss show jumper Beat Mandli. Maher was part of Team Great Britain which won the team a Gold Medal at the London Olympics in 2012, ending Britain’s 60-year-old drought of an Olympic medal in show jumping. Ben has yet again been selected to represent his country in Rio this year alongside Nick Skelton, Michael and John Whitaker. Rio will be Ben’s third Olympic outing and the 33-year-old will be riding ‘Tic Tac’ who he only started competing on in January this year. When it comes to competition pressure, the former world number one rider is known to be really ‘cool’ about it. When he does get stressed he relies on his long-time girlfriend Sophia Gracida, a rider herself. When asked about Ben’s competition nerves, Sophia said that she is probably more nervous than he is. “He is really calm and realistic at the championships. In general, he copes well with pressure”.

A few personal insights:

His Idols - British showjumper Robert Smith & German showjumper Ludger Beerbaum.

Sporting Philosophy – “Work hard. Everyone has different backgrounds, but if you're in the right place, you can always move up the ladder. Make sure you have goals and ambitions, and don't stop until you've achieved them”.

His ambition: To win another Olympic Gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Awards and honours: Appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 by Queen Elizabeth. Named the British Show jumping Association's (BSJA) “Best Up and Upcoming Rider” for 2006.

In his free time: loves to watch movies and television programs.

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