Harry Charles © CHIG / Photo Bujard

Harry Charles, Team GB’s grounded dreamer

Still only 24, Harry Charles is now an established figure in the show jumping elite. Currently knocking on the door of the Rolex IJRC Top 10, the young British rider has come a long way in the last few years, having spent quite a while dividing his time and affections between equestrianism and golf. Luckily for us, the horses won out.

There is more to Harry Charles than just being the son of a famous rider. Over the last few years, he has proved to be a worthy successor to London 2012 Olympic team champion Peter Charles and has showcased his talent in representing his country. A member of the Great Britain team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the 2022 FEI World Championships in Herning, and a GB mainstay at a number of Nations Cup events, including this year’s final in Barcelona, the young prodigy has not one mount to choose from, but several. His stables now boast an impressive line-up of Grand Prix horses, with the likes of Balou du Reventon, Romeo 88, Casquo Blue, Aralyn Blue, Billabong du Roumois, and Sherlock accompanying him at the world’s top arenas. 

“I’ve been lucky enough to ride some fabulous horses and have some fantastic owners,” he explains. “My horses are fortunate and love what they do. I try to look after them and not overjump them. These last three weeks have been really good in terms of results, which has given me a lot of confidence and motivation.”

The British rider starred in Thursday evening’s Trophée de Genève, taking second place on Romeo 88, a fine start to this year’s CHI Geneva for the world No. 13  – and highest-ranked under-25 rider on the planet – who has shown a consistency and level of expertise beyond his years. In Sunday’s Rolex Grand Prix, he will partner with the trusty Aralyn Blue in a bid to post his first result of note in a Rolex Grand Slam event.

“This is her first year of World Cup Grand Prix events,” says Charles. “If I go clear in the first round tomorrow, she’ll have a really good chance to stand out in the jump-off, as she’s a very fast mare. She maybe doesn’t have the experience of Romeo or Casquo Blue, but I like how it feels when I ride her. She’s also just had a little break. I’ll tell you on Sunday evening if it was a good idea to go with her.” 

Family circle

Despite his many placings and his Team GB role, the mature Charles is keeping his feet on the ground. Based around his family, his set-up is working perfectly for him: “I’m lucky enough to have my dad helping me out. He’s an excellent trainer and manager, and I’ve got a great team at events and at home. We talk every day, though my dad doesn’t come to as many competitions these days because he’s following my sisters, who also ride. He lets me manage myself a bit more.” 

Aside from a fierce desire to break into the Top 10 and compete in the legendary CHI Geneva event, young Harry has his sights firmly set on the Olympic Games Paris 2024. While Balou du Reventon is his first choice should he make that dream come true, also in his thoughts is Romeo, a very consistent and battle-hardened performer at major events. “As for Sherlock, who’ll still be young next year, he showed me what he can do when we won last week’s World Cup Grand Prix in La Coruña,” says Charles. “I’ve hardly ridden him at the top level this year because I’ve wanted to give him time, but he’s definitely got the talent for it. If he’s not ready for next year,  he definitely will be for Los Angeles.” Elementary, my dear Harry.

Sophie Lebeuf

Off Topic

If you were an animal…

I’d be a bird so I could fly.

Spring, summer, autumn or winter?


What would you be doing if you weren’t a rider?

A professional golfer. I played with my dad all the time when I was young. I sometimes say to myself it would be a whole lot simpler just taking care of golf clubs, but then I’d miss the horses and Grands Prix too much.

A horse you wish you’d ridden?

Explosion, no doubt about it.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

Hopefully with a nice family and a child or two, a few Olympic medals and some great horses in my stables.

Harry Charles Harry Charles & Romeo 88 at the 62nd edition of CHIG.- © CHIG / Photo Bujard

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