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The voice of equestrian sport, legendary commentator Mike Tucker, has died aged 73.

The former top event rider will be remembered for his long-standing contribution to the equestrian world.

Mike commentated at Britain’s four-star events, including Badminton, as well as several Olympic Games, including Nick Skelton’s gold medal-winning round in Rio, which he said was a career highlight.

Mike evented internationally for 20 years — including competing at two European Championships — and was also a cross-country course-designer.

He rode round Badminton 12 times and was placed second at the four-star in 1983 riding General Bugle, a horse he bred at his farm.

Mike retired from BBC television commentary last spring after 40 years with the broadcaster, but continued to provide commentary at events.

Mike also had a passion for farming and ran Cotswold Wagyu alongside his son, Andrew.

He has been a member of the FEI eventing committee, a steward for Cheltenham and field master for the Duke of Beaufort’s hounds.

An equestrian legend

Tributes to Mike have flooded social media this afternoon, with riders, colleagues and friends sharing their memories of the much-loved personality.

“Devastating news this morning,” said Spencer Sturmey. “RIP Mike Tucker. You were an inspiration to so many and a voice, the voice of eventing, that will carry on forever.”

Fellow equestrian commentator John Kyle also paid his respects.

“Thoughts are with Angela [Mike’s wife] and his whole family,” he said. “I, along with our whole industry and sport, shall miss his humour, insight and friendship.”

Equestrian photographer Jon Stroud added: “Greatly saddened to learn of the loss of the fabulous Mike Tucker.

“Incredibly knowledgeable, full of humour and a wonderfully kind individual, he will be greatly missed by the entire sport.”

The organising committee of Olympia said it was was deeply saddened.

Mike had been chairman of the committee for the past two years and for over 30 years was the show’s senior commentator.

“This is a great shock and sadness for all of those involved at Olympia,” said Simon Brooks-Ward, show director.

“Mike was a friend, provided wise counsel, and was professional to the last. He never ducked an issue that he thought needed raising and solving.

“Mike had huge integrity and was respected by all that had the privilege to know him. Furthermore, he was great company and had an immense sense of fun about him. He will be sorely missed by all of us.”

Memorial service

A service of thanksgiving will be held to celebrate Mike’s life at the Parish Church of St John The Baptist, Cirencester, at 3pm on Tuesday 10 April at 3pm. All are welcome, but the family has requested no flowers. Individuals who wish to make a donation in memory of Mike are invited to do so to Great Western Air Ambulance, Retraining of Racehorses and the MS Society.

Further tributes to Mike will be published on horseandhound.co.uk and a news feature on his incredible contribution to equestrian sport will be included in the next issue of Horse & Hound magazine, out Thursday 5 April.