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.

Holly Coward

A former long-serving chairman of British Horse Society (BHS) Scotland, Mrs Coward died on 6 May aged 88.

She is remembered for her “tireless” work for the good of the horse in Scotland and served as BHS Scotland chairman for 19 years, steering the society through its early stages.

Mrs Coward spent much of her life volunteering, organising and helping out with the Pony Club, Riding for the Disabled Association, horse trials and hunts.

She is survived by her sons Nick and Simon and their families.

Gill Anslow

Dedicated Riding for the Disabled (RDA) volunteer Mrs Anslow died suddenly on 8 May.

Mrs Anslow was a former head of Guildford College and joined Farnham RDA group in 2013.

Her achievements included transforming the group into the first charitable incorporated organisation in the region; orchestrating a visit by Princess Anne and helping the group move to a new premises.

She also made an impact at national level too, joining the RDA education committee as chairman in 2015.

RDA south east regional chairman Lindsay Correa remembered her as “fierce and funny, smart as a whip and a lover of speed and excitement”.

“Gill was a doer who rolled up her sleeves and made a difference,” she said. “She was a bundle of energy who empowered and supported everyone and will be sorely missed.”

Sheila Wilcox

The first rider to win Badminton three times in succession, Sheila Wilcox died peacefully at home on 9 June at the age of 81.

She took the CCI4* title in 1957 and 1958 with High And Mighty, and 1959 on Airs And Graces.

Sheila and High And Mighty also took team and individual gold at the 1957 European Championships, and a second team gold in 1959.

Brother John Willcox described Sheila as a “very determined sportswoman and a very gifted rider”.

Sheila continued competing at the highest levels of the sport in the 1960s, until she was badly injured in a fall at Tidworth Horse Trials in 1971 and switched to dressage.

Delia Cunningham

A Leading light in the equestrian world, Mrs Cunningham died on 31 May, her 95th birthday.

Mrs Cunningham was involved in equestrianism for more than eight decades, as an owner, rider, trainer and judge.

Born into a hunting family, she developed an interest in dressage after watching the 1948 London Olympics.

She won the national elementary championship in the 1960s on her first serious dressage horse Grane, and continued competing up until she was 75 — not letting a double hip replacement in 1984 keep her out the saddle for more than a matter of months.

Training was her real interest. A few weeks before her death she was spotted mentoring pupils at Addingont Manor and she previously cited 18 years of successes with the Grafton Hunt branch of the Pony Club as her proudest achievement.

Mrs Cunningham was also part of a syndicate that owned horses with William Fox-Pitt.

David “Dandy” Nicholls

A leading former jockey and trainer, Mr Nicholls died on 4 June aged 61.

The “Sprint King” rode more than 400 winners and trained numerous top-class racers, including Ya Malak, who famously dead-heated the Nunthorpe stakes at York in 1997.

As a trainer, his other Group One victories included multiple Ayre Gold Cups, Stewards Cups, Epsom Dashes and a July Cup.

Alan Swinbank

Top Flat and National Hunt trainer Mr Swinbank died on 17 May aged 72.

During his career he saddled nearly 800 winners.

Among his stable stars were Group winners Collier Hill, with whom he also enjoyed international success, and Formal Decree.

Members of the racing world have paid tribute to Mr Swinbank.

Jockey Ben Curtis, who rode more than 50 winners for the Yorkshire-based trainer, said he will be “forever grateful” for the support Mr Swinbank gave him.

Katrina (Katie) Halswell

One of the first ladies to race against men, Ms Halswell died following a short illness on 7 May aged 72.

A successful west country point-to-point jockey, she was the leading lady point-to-point rider in 1976.

In 1982, she won the Jeep Christie final at Chepstow aboard Moonstep.

Peter Lapworth

Respected showjumping course-builder Mr Lapworth died earlier this month.

He built courses at numerous county shows as well as the Royal International, Horse of the Year Show and the Royal Show.

Peter and his wife Kath first helped out with the Gate Inn Riding Club in 1960 and remained involved with the group until their retirement in 2014.

“Those who met him will remember him as a man of many words,” said club secretary Julie Warner.

“We are full of fond memories of you, Peter. We are all the better for having known you.”

Howard Jones MFH

MR Jones passed away earlier this year aged 87.

He first joined Tredegar Farmers Hunt in 1947 and served as master there for 46 years.

Mr Jones was a judge for what is now known as Sport Horse Breeding of Great Britain and also greatly enjoyed breeding and showing foxhounds.

He owned and trained point-to-pointers, with the most successful being Chingley Golden Heart.

He was also chairman and committee member of Machen and St Mellons agricultural shows.

Johnny Roe

The nine-time Irish Flat champion jockey died peacefully on 23 April aged 79.

He started his racing career as an apprentice with Seamus McGrath in the 1950s and went on to ride as stable jockey to Vincent O’Brien and John Oxx senior.

His many major wins included the 1975 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket on Nocturnal Spree, the 1967 Irish Oaks on Pampalina and multiple Royal Ascot victories.

After retiring from race riding, he spent time as a trainer in Macau and then became a bloodstock agent.

Pat Bishop

A long-serving volunteer with the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), Mrs Bishop died on 20 March aged 72.

She had been chairman of Mount RDA group for 25 years and also served as Leicestershire’s county RDA chairman.

A RDA spokesman said Mrs Bishop was a “dedicated and much-loved volunteer”.

“She was always focused on doing the very best for the riders she taught and worked tirelessly to help as many disabled people as possible to benefit from RDA’s activities all over Leicestershire,” added the spokesman.

“RDA will miss her kindness, enthusiasm, care and dedication.”

Peggy Alpin

Pony Club stalwart Mrs Alpin died from cancer on 30 March aged 61.

She held several positions with the Bramham Moor branch and the York & Ainsty North and also served as the representative for Area 3 and was a member of the Pony Club Equestrian Council.

Earlier this year, she was awarded the Cubitt Bar for 40 years of service.

“Peggy was always such a smiley, friendly person who ‘bounced’ into meetings and lit up the room,” said Pony Club chairman Mary Tuckett.

“The Pony Club owes her a huge debt, and she will be greatly missed by those who have such very fond memories of her.”

Valerie Millwood

An influential leader in the side-saddle and showing community, Miss Millwood passed away on 30 March aged 85.

Trained by Count Robert Orssich and Sybil Smith, she went on to run a successful riding school and produced numerous horses for the show ring.

Miss Millwood was an expert in the art of side-saddle, inspiring many to take up the style of riding and was a driving force in the formation of the Side Saddle Association. She was also a well-respected judge and sponsor.

In 1997, she became president of the British Show Hack, Cob & Riding Horse Association, as it was then known. Under her leadership, she help it through a period of difficulty to become a financially stable organisation with a growing membership that is today the British Show Horse Association (BSHA).

“Valerie’s door was always open for those who needed help, advice or guidance and her ability to counsel those with difficulties was much valued,” said a BSHA spokesman.

Neylan Etiman

A stalwart of the international showjumping scene, Ms Etiman died on 14 March aged 53 following complications after surgery.

A popular FEI judge, steward, course designer and rider, she competed for Turkey in 10 Balkan Games and veteran events.

She officiated at three Olympics, including London 2012 and Rio 2016, and ran the stewards’ office at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky 2010 and Normandy 2014.

“Her infectious smile, friendliness and positive approach to life, as well as her willingness to help was inspirational. Her presence at international events will be greatly missed,” said FEI jumping director John Roche.

Renita White

The showing stalwart died peacefully in her sleep on 7 March.

A hugely successful British riding pony breeder, exhibitor and judge, she was known for her keen eye for quality and a clear view of what she liked.

Mrs White became involved in showing when her daughter Virginia took up competing as a child. She started a small stud of Welsh section Bs at her home in Colbeach.

She then moved towards the British riding pony and bred numerous Horse of the Year Show victors, including 2004 childrens riding pony of the year champion Colbeach Salaman.

Helen Speirs

A tireless British Horse Society member, Mrs Speirs (BHS) died on 9 February.

She ran the BHS Scotland bookshop for almost 20 years and was a familiar sight at the Royal Highland Show and Blair Castle Horse Trials and Country Fair.

Mrs Speirs was also a great supporter of the Eglinton Hunt Branch of the Pony Club and carriage driving.

Prince Richard of Denmark

Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg died suddenly on 13 March, aged 82.

He was father to Danish Olympic dressage rider Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein and husband to renowned sport horse breeder Princess Benedikte of Denmark.

Michael Spackman

Event organiser Mr Spackman died on 21 February, aged 91.

Together with his wife, Veronica, Mr Spackman organised Stilemans and Iping Horse Trials for more than 30 years, as well as Tweseldown in the 1990s.

A life-member of British Eventing, he received an award from the organisation in 2004 for his services to the sport.

Brenda Wickham

Bridleway campaigner Brenda Wickham has died aged 92.

A dedicated member of the British Horse Society (BHS), she was appointed MBE in 2007 for services to public rights of way.

She was a driving force behind the National Bridleroute Network and helped to create numerous long-distance routes across the UK, including the Great Dragon Ride.

The BHS honoured the work she did with a golden jubilee medal in 2002 and an access award in 2000.

Tristan Voorspuy

The former Guards officer was killed on his Kenyan ranch on 5 March in what is believed to be civil unrest involving land invasions in the country.

Born in South Africa, Mr Voospury was raised in the UK and joined the army in 1975. He then started guiding mounted safaris and in 1990 founded Offbeat Safaris.

A UK memorial will take place on 6 July at Greens Norton, Towcester.

Sunset “Sunny” Hale

The pioneering polo player died from cancer on 26 February aged 48.

She was a trailblazer for women in the sport, becoming the first woman to win the US Open Polo Championships in 2000 and the first lady to be awarded a five-goal handicap.

Ms Hale played a key role in creating a women’s handicap within the United States Polo Association.

She was a member of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, won multiple player of the year awards and was involved in the creation of the American Polo Horse Association.

Michael Spackman

Event organiser Mr Spackman died on 21 February, aged 91.

Together with his wife, Veronica, Mr Spackman organised Stilemans and Iping Horse Trials for more than 30 years, as well as Tweseldown in the 1990s.

A life-member of British Eventing, he received an award from the organisation in 2004 for his services to the sport.

Tim Finch

A stalwart of the eventing world, Mr Finch died on 16 February, aged 82.

He commentated at British Eventing (BE) fixtures in Scotland and the north of England for decades.

In 2016 he received a BE award for 50 years of service to the sport, which was presented at Dalston Green Horse Trials.

Cumbria Horse Trials director Douglas Weymouth said his “wonderful voice and great character will be sorely missed”.

George Smith

Mr Smith died peacefully at home on 5 February, aged 88.

A chance encounter after his retirement in 1993 led to him volunteering the next 23 years to the care of Aldon Park, home of Aldon Park Horse Trials.

He built numerous jumps for the horse trials and the Cattistock Pony Club. He cared for the ground and “fixed as he went along”.

A spokesman for Aldon Eventing said “nothing was ever too much”.

“Always recognisable in his red tractor, George loved to stop and chat with the dog walkers, often pointing out his latest fence or improvement,” he added.

He is survived by his wife and three further generations.

Barbara Thomson

Pioneering equestrian photographer Mrs Thomson died aged 75 on 21 February.

Mrs Thompson photographed almost every Olympics and World Equestrian Games in the past 30 years.

As well as the many international championships, she covered countless shows and events across New Zealand.

She also owned racehorses and eventers, including a share in Blyth Tait’s second-placed 1994 Badminton ride Delta III.

Barbara then went on to own horses for eventer Heelan Tompkins, including her 2008 Olympic ride Sugoi.

Norman Gleave

Showjumping enthusiast Mr Gleave died peacefully on 28 December aged 91.

He was well known for the shows he ran with his family at Cleworth Hall, Manchester, in the 1970s. He took his inspiration from visits to Hickstead in the 1960s.

A life member of British Showjumping (BS), Mr Gleave was on of the BS judges’ panel and he was an active member of the Area 17 committee for many years.

He also worked on establishing local riding clubs and was president of the Leigh and District branch, which he helped to form 60 years ago.

June Horsfall

Showing owner, breeder and sponsor, Mrs Horsfall passed away at home on 28 January. Her husband, Patrick David, died later the same day in a hospice.

They would have been married 70 years in September.

During the Second World War she joined the Wrens and went on to be a part of the Bletchley code breaking team at Finchley Park.

Deaconwood Goldprint was her most prolific winner and was one of the most successful dun show ponies of all time. He took the Royal International Horse Show championship in 1999 and 2002, and was twice victorious at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) in 1998 and 2000.

She also enjoyed success with Spinningdale Arabella, who was a HOYS winner in 1996, and the homebred Dennybeck Fine Feathers took the 1987 HOYS reserve show pony of the year title.

June was also generous sponsor and her name and Dennybeck prefix could be seen in schedules and catalogues at many shows including the Royal International Horse Show and the British Show Pony Society championships. Latterly, she sponsored the Part Bred Anglo Arab £1000 final at Arena UK.

Jessica Wilkinson

Mrs Wilkinson (nee Hobson) died on 2 February.

She was the former stable manager at Tattersalls, Blarney, Dartfield and Punchestown horse trials.

Mrs Wilkinson was also very involved in the running of Eventing Ireland during its early days and sat on its selection committees.

She leaved behind daughters, Clare and Nicola.

Babette Cole

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.”