The first laureates for the British Horse Society (BHS) Equestrian Hall of Fame were announced at the Royal International Horse Show, Hickstead, yesterday.

The Hall of Fame is the brainchild of BHS President Noel Edmonds and is designed to recognise those whose excellence has made them famous within the equestrian world.

Having beein inducted into the successful radio Hall of Fame several years ago, Edmonds was keen to provide the equestrian world with a similar scheme. “As well as looking forward, it is good to look back and not forget past heroes,” says Oliver Wilson, BHS Director of Communications.

The six-strong panel of judges was chaired by Patrick Print FBHS and consisted of Dr Wilfried Bechtolsheimer, Michael Clayton, H&H Editor Lucy Higginson, Jennie Loriston-Clarke and Michael Mac. In a meeting last month the panel considered nominations for 26 horses and 46 people which had been submitted via the Hall of Fame page on the BHS website.

Print said:  “The difficulty lay not so much in deciding who should be included in the Hall of Fame but in who, amongst the very many potential candidates, should be excluded.  The debate around the table was at times very lively!”

Although many of the nominations have become Laureates, some voters will no doubt be disappointed that their equestrian heroes were not selected.  “In the end,” said Print, “the successful names were those which seemed to us to stand out from all others as being impossible to exclude. However, I am certain that future Panels, refreshed by periodic retirements and recruitments, will think differently.  So this list is sure to grow as time goes by.”

The Hall of Fame will become an important part of the BHS website but is expected to become a material memorabilia in the future: “At some point we would like to find a physical wall on which to inscribe the Laureates’ names. We have not found one yet and are open to any suggestions or offers,” said Wilson.

In view of the huge number of equestrian heroes from which to choose, the panel unanimously decided to exclude the racing sector from their considerations.  They also decided to limit their choice on this occasion to British riders and British-ridden horses.  But that decision does not preclude a widening of the ambit for the Hall of Fame in the future.

The BHS Equestrian Hall of Fame – People

  • The Princess Royal (Achieved international success, including winning the European Three Day Event Champs on Doublet and as a member of the British Eventing team at the Montreal Olympics)
  • Colonel Sir Michael Ansell (The architect of Britain’s postwar equestrian revival, Chairman of The BSJA for 20 years.  First president of the British Equestrian Federation)
  • George Bowman (Nineteen times Carriage Driving British National Champion)
  • David Broome (Won King George V Cup a record five times, double Olympic Bronze, won the World Championship on Beethoven)
  • Cynthia Haydon (Britain’s leading Whip in the post war years of 20th century)
  • Lorna Johnstone (Oldest female Olympic competitor ever, dressage Munich 1972)
  • Virginia (Ginny) Leng (Double Olympic bronze, eventing)
  • Colonel Harry Llewellyn (Olympic Gold medallist on Foxhunter at the Helsinki Olympics)
  • Richard Meade (Triple Gold medallist eventer)
  • Anna Sewell (Author of Black Beauty who campaigned for equine welfare in the 19th century and was responsible for getting the bearing rein banned)
  • Harvey Smith (Won British Jumping Derby at Hickstead four times and more
    than 50 Grand Prixs, and represented Britain at two Olympics)
  • Pat Smythe (First lady showjumper to achieve popularity among British public, won a team Bronze medal at the Stockholm Olympics)
  • Sheila Wilcox (First UK lady eventer to achieve major success at international level, Badminton etc. Won Badminton Horse Trials for three consecutive years)
  • Dorian Williams (The first major equestrian commentator on BBC Televsion to capture mass audiences, and greatly popularise the sports in postwar Britain)
  • Mrs. VDS Williams (Pioneer of British dressage)The BHS Equestrian Hall of Fame – Horses
    • Be Fair (Won Badminton with Lucinda Green in 1973)
    • Cornishman (Double Olympic Gold, eventing)
    • Doublet (Won Burghley three day event in 1971 with HRH Princess Anne)
    • Dutch Courage (Bronze medallist at World Championships)
    • Foxhunter (Olympic Gold medallist show jumping)
    • High & Mighty (Won Badminton in 1957 and 1958 with Shelia Wilcox)
    • King’s Warrior (Triple winner of HOYS Champion Show Hunter class)
    • Merely a Monarch (Winner of Burghley and Badminton Horse Trials)
    • Milton (Only horse outside of racing to win over £1 million)
    • Penwood Forge Mill (Won European Championships, King George V Gold Cup and the Horse and Hounds Cup within six days)
    • Priceless (Olympic team Silver and individual Bronze, eventing)
    • Sefton (Survived IRA bombing in London 1982)
    • Stroller (Only pony to compete at international level among horses and win consistently, including an Olympic silver medal with his owner-rider Marion Mould)

    A further list of equestrian heroes, both human and equine, who are currently at the pinnacle of their careers will be announced in the Autumn.

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