Tributes paid to Molly Sivewright, founder of the Talland School of Equitation

  • The horseworld lost one of its great personalities last month (28 August) with the death of Molly Sivewright at the age of 89.

    Mrs Sivewright (pictured here on the left, with her daughter Pammy Hutton) was a List One dressage judge, an international showing judge, a former British team member and a respected expert witness on equestrian matters.

    She founded the Talland School of Equitation in 1958 and was teaching until shortly before her death. The British Horse Society (BHS) said she was “one of the greatest instructors this country has seen”.

    Lizzie Ragg, an instructor at Talland, recalled an anecdote about Mrs Sivewright.

    “She was once asked why she did not wear a hat when she rode, she replied, ‘Because me and The Queen don’t, dear’.”

    Senior Talland instructor and event rider Gerry Sinnott — who represented Ireland at the 1976 Olympics — remembered a jumping lesson with Pammy Hutton. Neither were allowed to jump anything bigger than a cross-pole until they could both get their horse to land on the same leg three times running.

    To their rage, they did not jump a bigger fence for the entire lesson.

    “I was so angry, I went out a jumped a memorable double clear the next day,” said Mr Sinnott.

    Mrs Sivewright’s Thinking Riding books are still on students’ reading lists today. She became a fellow of the BHS in 1961 and in 1975 introduced the riding and horse care stage exams and intermediate teaching exams.

    Lynn Peterson, chief executive of the BHS, said: “Molly has left a beautiful legacy for all of us. She will be missed forever.”

    Mrs Sivewright’s funeral will be a private occasion, but Talland is to hold a memorial day to celebrate her life at a later date.

    Originally published in H&H 5 September 2013.

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