H&H reports the passing of individuals who have made a significant contribution to the horse world. Funerals and memorial details will be included where possible.

Babette Cole

The much-loved author and illustrator of childrens’ books died earlier this month aged 66 following a short illness.

A keen horsewoman, she bred hunters and was a talented side-saddle rider. Together with her beloved homebred Hot Tip, known as “Scrappit”, she won multiple national side-saddle titles.
The pair also hunted and team chased, as part of the Legover Ladies side-saddle team.

Among her titles were the Princess Smartypants and the Fetlock Hall series, the latter of which featured tales from a magical equestrian boarding school.

She is survived by her husband, James Gutans.

Margoe Hammon

The popular Pembrokeshire horsewoman died on 6 January aged 74.

She was known for her abilities in starting young and tricky horses, including 1987 Grand National winner Maori Venture, and also had success at county and national level showing ridden and in-hand hunters.

Mrs Hammon hunted with the South Pembrokeshire for more than 30 years.

Her final years were spent introducing her great-niece and nephew to showing, on the lead rein pony she bought for them.

Padge Berry

A leading trainer and handler of point-to-pointers for many years, the Irishman died on 14 January.

The 2000 Irish point-to-point personality of the year, he produced numerous successful horses.

On the day of his death, the last horse he ever had, Iberico, who he sold to Chris and Eileen Bennett in 2012, won the veterans’ open at Barbury International Race Club point-to-point.

Among the horses he produced was Cheltenham Festival winner Fundamentalist.

He also enjoyed success as a trainer with Bannow Rambler and Arctic Sunset.

Brian Fletcher

Brian Fletcher

Three-time Grand National winning jockey, Brian Fletcher died on Thursday (12 January) aged 69.

He is best known for his back-to-back victories aboard Red Rum in 1973 and 1974. He finished second on the legendary racehorse in the 1975 race and the pair also won the 1974 Scottish Grand National.

Brian’s first Grand National win came at the age of 20 in 1968 with Red Alligator. Trained by the late Denys Smith, he also finished third with Brian in the 1967 race.

In 1968 he finished as runner-up in the National Hunt jockeys’ championship to Stan Mellor.

“Brian had more than his fair share of injuries including a serious fall in 1972 when riding at Teeside, which kept him out of the saddle for 10 months,” said a spokesman for the Professional Jockeys Association.

“However, once returning to action his talents as a quiet horseman, with unique ability in getting horses to jump and perform, soon returned.

“We extend our sympathies to his partner Irene and friends at this time.”

Brian retired from race riding in 1976, after finishing third in the Grand National with Eyecatcher.

After stepping down from his competitive career, he farmed sheep and bred Welsh cobs.

Jacques-Henry Ménard

Former French dressage team rider and trainer Mr Ménard died on 5 January aged 72.

Mr Ménard competed in eventing and showjumping before switching to dressage. He was also an international four-star dressage judge.

He was based at Couteilles, close to Verneuil-sur-Avre in Normandy, for 33 years, and his pupils included French Olympic dressage rider Luovic Henry, who trained with him for close to 20 years.

“It was him who introduced me to dressage 30 years ago, who breathed into me this devouring passion, who taught me above all to respect the horse, who passed on his knowledge to so many top riders, who was a mentor to me,” said Mr Henry.

“His legendary humour, his strength, his immense knowledge will remain etched [in our memories] forever.”