Eventing legend Richard Meade has been posthumously honoured for his contribution to the British breeding industry.

Richard was recognised with the SEIB Meritoire — an award celebrating a lifetime’s contribution to the breeding industry — at the annual British Breeders dinner and awards in London on Saturday (10 January). He received a standing ovation in his memory from the packed room.

The evening was organised by the British Horse Foundation, of which Richard was a former chairman.

Richard died on 8 January, aged 76. He had been suffering from cancer and had been receiving treatment since being diagnosed in October. He had been in hospital since Boxing Day.

Richard was the most successful Olympic rider in eventing history and was also a keen supporter of British breeding.

“The award was to be presented to Richard who very sadly passed away just before,” said a spokesman for the British Horse Foundation.

“The occasion was taken to present a celebration of the life of a great gentleman, equestrian and friend of many in the room.

“Richard’s contribution to breeding was immense, having been a top level competitor himself, he acted as a link between breeding and competition riding and was instrumental in the development of the first breeding strategy for the country and setting up the Supporters of British Breeding.

“Chair of the British Horse Foundation, Richard and the trustees supported many breeding and young horse initiatives. His foresight and ability to motivate and coordinate groups of people was inspiring. Richard was aware that he had won the award before he became very ill and the Meritoire will be presented to Richard’s family when they feel able to receive it.”

Richard was member of the British eventing team for 21 years and secured team gold at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, in severe weather conditions riding Cornishman V, as well as at the 1972 Munich Games (riding Laurieston). He also won individual gold at the latter.

Richard was a staunch supported of the equestrian industry — he served on the British Horse Society’s Council, was formerly president of the British Equestrian Federation, a member of the FEI’s eventing committee and then a Bureau member and chairman of its Northern European group of nations.

He was on the sport’s governing body board (now British Eventing) for more than 30 years and was an FEI judge and course-designer.

Tributes have poured in from the horse world since his death, remembering a “wonderful man” and a “true gentleman”.

To read memories from his teammates and friends, see this week’s issue of H&H — out tomorrow (Thursday 15 January).