The equestrian community was rocked this week by the devastating news that the great Tim Stockdale had been taken from us far too soon.
As we all remember the great man, here is a fond look back through the archives at some of our favourite images of the Olympic showjumper.
1. One of Tim Stockdale’s most prestigious victories came in the 2010 Longines King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead’s Royal International Horse Show, fulfilling a lifelong ambition for the Northamptonshire rider. Having finished runner-up the previous year, he rode a typically daring finish in the jump-off to lift the trophy on Fresh Direct Kalico Bay, aka “Frankie”, owned by Tim’s long-term supporters and family friends Ann and Colin Garratt.
2. As well as being a hugely successful horseman, Tim was a maestro with a microphone and we all enjoyed his hugely knowledgeable and eloquent commentary and lively interviews when he appeared as part of the BBC’s coverage of showjumping events. He also used this talent to host hugely popular lecture demos.
3. In the saddle, Tim was always a key team player, representing Great Britain many times over the years. In 2002 he made his senior championship debut having been selected for the World Equestrian Games riding Fresh Direct Parcival. The pair went on to win that year’s grand prix at Horse of the Year Show.
4. In 2008, Tim rode at the Beijing Olympic Games alongside team-mates Ben Maher, Nick Skelton and John Whitaker. He finished as the highest placed British rider, 16th, on the great grey mare Corlato, with whom he’d triumphed in the 2007 Royal Windsor grand prix.
5. Combining his huge talent as a trainer and his natural flair in front of the camera, Tim also became a familiar face on television — successfully taking showjumping to a wider audience in several programmes over the years. He took part in a documentary with comedian Jennifer Saunders entitled ‘Back in the Saddle’ in 2012, as well as the reality series ‘Only Fools On Horses’ in 2006 in which he taught celebrities such as Sara Cox, Matt Baker and Ruby Wax the art of showjumping in aid of Sport Relief.
6. The Northamptonshire rider jumped in more than 50 Nations Cups during his dazzling career — consistently delivering clear rounds — and in 2016 he and Fleur De L’Aube proudly flew the British flag on home soil at Hickstead.
7. The thousands of tributes paid by Tim’s many friends — and competition rivals — from the showjumping world sum up just how much he will be missed. Ben Maher, pictured together here with Tim, said: “I was lucky enough to be team-mates with Tim during the Beijing Olympics. Memories that will stay with me forever. My thoughts and prayers to Tim’s family.”
Don’t miss Horse & Hound’s full tribute to Tim Stockdale in next week’s magazine, out Thursday 22 November.