‘A great horsewoman’: farewell to former British team showjumper


  • By Paul and Floss Crago

    Judy Crago died on 15 January aged 87.

    Born in Totteridge, north London, in 1935 she learned to ride on a Shetland pony shared with her two elder brothers Peter and David.

    After the war her mother Margaret ran a riding school in Frimley, Surrey, where Judy continued to ride and compete on ponies, and won her first jumping class in 1949 at Runwick Park in Farnham.

    In 1959 she bought Thou Swell, with whom she won the ladies’ national championship in 1960. She also bought Spring Fever that year, the horse with whom she had so much international success. 1960 was a good year for Judy as she also met Brian Crago, the Australian Olympic gold medal event rider whom she married in 1961.

    From 1960 to 1967 Judy travelled across Europe for the British team on 23 occasions, to shows such as Madrid, Lisbon, Rotterdam, Brussels and many more. She also won the Queen Elizabeth cup at White City in 1962, was reserve rider for Tokyo in 1964, and was a prolific winner at Hickstead, her favourite venue. She always maintained that she was the first rider to go down the famous Derby bank, and she was likely the first woman.

    In 1963 her son Paul was born, and in 1967 her daughter Floss.

    Spring Fever retired injured in 1967 but remained part of the family, producing five foals including Autumn Folly and Summer Games, grand prix showjumpers ridden by Paul, and Spring Fancy, the dam of prolific dressage sire Catherston Springsteen, owned and produced by Jennie Loriston-Clarke.

    Judy and Brian continued to produce and compete young horses and it was in 1972 that she bought Bouncer, with whom she went on to achieve many more international and British team successes. Judy had a professional licence at the time and was ineligible for Olympic selection, so Bouncer was loaned to Rowland Fernyhough for the 1976 Olympics and returned to Roland after Judy’s retirement from competition in 1977. The partnership enjoyed international success over the next few years.

    After retiring, Judy concentrated on supporting Paul in his showjumping career and enjoying her passion for National Hunt racing, cricket and her beloved dogs. Brian died in 1998.

    As well as a great horsewoman, Judy was a true and loyal friend to many people, and a loving mother and grandmother

    She is survived by Paul, Floss and her grandchildren Hannah, Charlie, Jonny and Angus.

    Her funeral will be at 12pm on 10 February at St Mary’s Church in Frensham, Surrey, and afterwards at Frensham Pond Hotel.

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