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A turkey presentation and nine other brilliant moments in the life of Harvey Smith

In this week’s Horse & Hound (out today, 17 September) we take an epic trip down memory lane with the one and only Harvey Smith. He talks about the secret to his success — despite never having had a riding lesson in his life — his bargain horses and, of course, the famous V-sign. We also hear from David Broome, Graham Fletcher and John Whitaker, who share some (very amusing) anecdotes about the legendary rider.

To celebrate this octogenarian’s outstanding contribution to equestrian sport over the years, we rifled through the picture archives to find just a few of our favourite ‘Harvey moments’ — and remember many more of the good times, too.

1. Harvey won the Hickstead Derby four times — in 1970 and 1971 on Mattie Brown (pictured), then in 1974 on Salvador, before completing the four-timer in 1981 on Sanyo Video. His famous ‘V sign’ — directed towards the Hickstead judges — came in the 1971 event.

Jumping Derby presentation. Harvey Smith on Mattie Brown. Presentation by Mrs. John Wilson assisted by Mr John Wilson. Used 21/08/70.

2. Harvey represented Great Britain at two Olympic Games — his debut came in 1968 when he and Madison Time (pictured) flew to Mexico. In 1972 he finished fourth in Munich riding Manhattan.

3. The colourful, often controversial, showjumper wasn’t just a fierce competitor in the show ring — at the height of his fame in the 1970s he took part in professional wrestling. He also released a pop song in 1975.

B56NDW Trying to look fierce in the ring is show-jumper Harvey Smith who starts his new career as wrestler next week. April 1974

4. Since retiring from showjumping in 1990, Harvey and his wife Sue Smith — also a former showjumper — have been training National Hunt racehorses at Craiglands Farm, Bingley, West Yorkshire, sending out the 2013 Grand National winner Auroras Encore (pictured), with Ryan Mania in the saddle.

Auroras Encore with winning trainer Harvey Smith during the winners photocall at Craiglands Farm, Bingley.

5. Harvey won six championship medals including European team silver in 1983 and 1977, individual bronze in 1963 and at the world championships in 1970 and claimed individual silver at the Europeans in 1967 and 1971.

Harvey Smith of Great Britain, riding Hide Away, in action during the European Championships at the All England Jumping Course in Hickstead, West Sussex on 20th July, 1973. (Photo by Ed Lacey/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

6. It’s more than 60 years since Harvey Smith made his Nations Cup debut and in 1965 he and Harvester flew the flag for Great Britain.

7. He won more than 50 grands prix during his career – but little can beat the moment his winning mount Sanyo Technology tried to eat the turkey presented to Harvey by the Duchess of Kent.

8. Harvey Smith made his competition debut at Bingley agricultural show in 1947 and returned to his pony-riding roots when taking part in the Pony Club Games at Horse of the Year Show in 1978

9. He’s competed all over the world, in every type of showjumping competition, becoming the first man to have jumped in 100 World Cup qualifiers.

10. And finally… If ever there was a time to bring out this photographic gem, it’s now. Thank you Harvey!

Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade to access our H&H Plus online service which brings you breaking news as it happens as well as other benefits. 

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