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.

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.”