FOUR members of Huddersfield's Whitaker family are set to get invitations to compete at the British Open Show Jumping Championships.

John, Michael, Robert and Ellen are all listed in the British Show Jumping Association's ranking of Britain's top 12 riders.

All are poised to receive an invitation to compete at the event, one of the most elite equestrian events in Great Britain.

An invitation to compete at the Sheffield based British Open Show Jumping Championships in April is hugely significant for leading riders from both the UK and overseas.

With over £150,000 prize money up for grabs over the four days of international classes - including the £25,000 winner of the British Open Championship, the richest single purse in British Show Jumping - the show is an important fixture on the equestrian calendar.

Reigning British Open Champion, Nick Skelton, will be officially invited to defend his title at the show, which takes place from April 7 to 10.

The previous two British Opens have proved to be momentous for the Whitaker family as they compete in front of a supportive home crows with Upper Cumberworth-based John's popular win in the Puissance last year and his son, Robert, capturing the first-ever British Open Championship title in 2003.

This year the family are particularly well armed for a successful show as John's niece, Ellen, joins the ranks.

That means the Whitakers make up a third of the elite listed.

In all there are seven Yorkshire riders in contention.In addition, the line-up will also consist of two other British riders who will have qualified to compete through a competition at Addlington Manor Equestrian Centre at the end of January.

With the other 50% of the field consisting of some of the very best foreign riders on the circuit, every class is guaranteed to produce fiercely competitive and entertaining show jumping.

Each performance, with the exception of Puissance Night on Saturday evening contains a British Open Championship round with the final being held on Sunday afternoon.

In addition to the championship there are international classes held each day including the Accumulator and the Speed Stakes.

Aside from the show jumping action the British Open features an eclectic mix of entertainment to keep the crowds happy, with displays by stunt rider Daniel Naprous, French comedian Joel Chacon and the Musical Military Ride in miniature by the Cheshire Hunt North Pony Club.

British Open tickets are now on sale and prices range from £14 to £37.50 for adults, with discounts for children and pensioners.

Go to or call 0114 256 5656. Groups of 12 or more can get discounts.