Top showman, judge and breeder John Rawding died peacefully in his sleep on Monday (25 April), aged 78.

For many years, John and his wife Sue ran Church Farm Stud, near Leighton Buzzard, breeding eventers, racehorses, point-to-pointers and show horses.

Their best-known stallion was the selle Français Dallas, who sired the middleweight Reaction, show hunter of the year 2004. When the Rawdings lost Reaction to colic in 2006, they sponsored the hunters at the Horse of the Year Show in his name.

When they moved to Wickhambrook in Suffolk, they retained one stallion, Cameo’s Reflection, a son of Dallas, who has eventing offspring ridden by Louise Skelton including Sam I Am II and Brown Sugar III.

John, who was this year’s president of Sport Horse Breeding (GB), received the Merial Meritoire lifetime achievement award in the 2007 British Breeders’ Awards.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (28 April, 2011)