The equestrian community has been devastated to hear that legendary showing producer Robert Oliver has passed away at the age of 80.
Robert — whose career in the saddle spanned some 70 years — posted 29 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) section championships, 23 Royal International (RIHS) championships and six supremes at both HOYS and the RIHS.
As we remember the ‘ultimate showman’, here is a look back at five of his special horses who he rode in the spotlight.
1. Kings Warrior
During his time on the circuit this strapping bay middleweight claimed the hunter of the year accolade at HOYS in 1991, 1992 and 1994. He also won the RIHS hunter championship three times.
Robert was first acquainted with Kings Warrior when the gelding was a four-year-old and the pair made their ring debut the following year at Royal Windsor, where they won the novices. Later in his career Kings Warrior took the coveted hunter tricolour at Royal Windsor four years running.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had a hunter who was as prolific as him,” said Robert to H&H when Kings Warrior was featured in the 100 Greatest Horses Of All Time special.
2. Lord Sorcerer
Robert’s first HOYS winners were Major Helme’s small hunter Lord Sorcerer and the middleweight Gay Moss, who came from David Somerset – later Duke of Beaufort.
“These two horses put me on the map,” Robert told H&H. “When I won the small hunter of the year at HOYS with Lord Sorcerer I was referred to as a ‘young lad from Wales’. That was in 1970.”
Alongside fellow Oliver-produced hack Rye Tangle, large height contender Tenterk was a triple HOYS champion. Tenterk once earned 100/100 for both ride and show at HOYS.
4. Super Ted
Super Ted was one of the most successful and loved show cobs of all time. He had an eight-year unbeaten run at RIHS between 1987 and 1994 – standing overall supreme in 1990 and 1991 – and also won HOYS on several occasions.
“My highlight with him would have to be when we were supreme champion at HOYS in 1990; he gave the most amazing show,” Robert told H&H when Super Ted was featured in the 100 Greatest Horses Of All Time special. “He had unbelievable presence in the ring and, unlike many horses shown today, he was always fit and never fat — even though he loved his food and would eat anything from bread to a cabbage.”
5. Loughkeen Dancing Lord
One of Robert’s later rides was the impressive chestnut hunter Loughkeen Dancing Lord who was at the top of the heavyweight ranks for seven seasons.
Following Robert’s retirement, the gelding was ridden by his wife Claire. He was a multi-HOYS and RIHS winner during his career and Robert also took his last HOYS ride on him, winning the heavyweights and standing reserve hunter of the year.
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