The Whitaker family name has become synonymous with modern showjumping with 11 riders with that name currently on the international equestrian scene.
Yet for the past 30 years it has been Michael, along with his elder brother John, who has been among the best riders in the world.
At one point, people thought they could form the main part, if not the whole Olympic team in London. So last week's news that none of them would be part of the Olympic selection came as a shock.
GIG Amai's fitness problems had meant Whitaker was listed only a second reserve for the British squad. As such the 52-year-old had a point to prove in Aachen and in front of 49,000 spectators and 39 competitors, his determination paid off.
"I have been trying to win this Grand Prix for 28 years," Whitaker said after finally winning the prestigious show. "You sure have to be consistent."