Harvey Smith, former top British showjumper

Harvey Smith

Harvey Smith was born into a working class Yorkshire family on 29 December 1938. He began his riding career on the local milk pony and found early showjumping success with the aptly named Farmer’s Boy.

Harvey represented Great Britain in showjumping at two Olympics (Mexico 1968 and Munich 1972), but Olympic glory eluded him on both occasions. He also competed in five European Championships, coming home with a medal each time.

Harvey’s rebellious attitude and sometimes blunt manner meant that his successful career was often touched with controversy.

In 1971, he gave a “V for victory” two-fingered salute after winning the Hickstead Derby with Mattie Brown, which led to Harvey being disqualified and reported to the British Show Jumping Association (now British Showjumping).

While he appealed against this and won, the saga earned Harvey an entry into the Chambers dictionary, with the v-sign renamed a “Harvey Smith“. He also became known as the “people’s champion” as a result.

In 1990, after retiring from competition, Harvey teamed up with wife and trainer Sue Smith, a former showjumper herself, to form a racing team at their Yorkshire base, Craiglands Farm. They trained the winner of the 2013 Grand National Auroras Encore.

Father to renowned showjumpers Robert Smith and Steven Smith, Harvey received a lifetime achievement award from British Showjumping in April 2010 for his outstanding contribution to British Showjumping.

Harvey Smith’s major achievements

  • 1983 European Championships, Hickstead: team silver
  • 1977 European Championships, Vienna: team silver
  • 1972 Munich Olympics: represented Great Britain
  • 1971 European Championships, Aachen: individual silver (Mattie Brown)
  • 1968 Mexico Olympics: represented Great Britain
  • 1967 European Championships, Rotterdam: individual silver (Harvester)
  • 1963 European Championships, Rome: individual bronze (O’ Malley)
  • Won over 50 grand prixs throughout his career

Harvey Smith video

Originally published on horseandhound.co.uk