Equestrian legends join the British Horse Society’s hall of fame

  • Four legendary sport horses plus one human equestrian star have been inducted into the British Horse Society’s hall of fame.

    Newly appointed British performance coach Chris Bartle was enrolled earlier this month (24 November).

    Outstanding event horses Opposition Buzz, Chilli Morning, and Avebury have also been recognised, as well as showjumper Philco.

    Plaques to commemorate all of those inducted are displayed on the wall of the Household Cavalry’s barracks in Knightsbridge.

    A panel chaired by the previous BHS chairman Claire Aldridge, former H&H editor Lucy Higginson, showjumper Liz Edgar, eventing stars Mary Low (née Gordon-Watson) and Lucinda Green and dressage rider and trainer Carl Hester, made the hall of fame selections.

    Christopher Bartle at The Yorkshire Riding Centre, Markington near Harrogate, North Yorkshire in the UK on 30th September 2014

    Chris said being included in the hall of fame was a “lovely surprise”.

    “It is a great honour, especially when I see all those successful and well-known members of the equestrian world who are already laureates.

    “I would like to dedicate this award to my mother, Nicole Bartle. She is sadly no longer alive to see me receive it, but she is hugely responsible for it.”

    Chris has been national coach to the German eventing team since 2001 and will start his new role as part of the British World Class eventing programme in January.

    The 64-year-old won Badminton in 1998, was a European team gold medallist in 1997 and reserve for the 2000 Olympic team.

    He also rode at the top level in pure dressage and finished sixth in the dressage at the 1984 Olympics.

    Eventing legends

    Nicola Wilson riding OPPOSITION BUZZ during the dressage at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, Stamford UK, September, 2013

    Rosemary Search, owner and breeder of Opposition Buzz, said it was “absolutely incredible” to see ‘Dodi’ recognised in the hall of fame.

    “It’s beyond my wildest dreams,” she said. “Dodi was just very special to me, not only because I bred him, but also because I delivered him myself.”

    The popular multi-medalled horse died just seven weeks into his retirement last year (9 November), aged 17.

    Dodi was ridden by Nicola Wilson and best known for the enthusiasm he showed when going cross-country and his unusual jumping style.

    He took team gold at the 2009 European Championships and the 2010 World Equestrian Games, as well as team silver at the 2012 Olympics and team bronze at the 2011 European Championships.

    Chilli Morning nearing the end of the cross-country course in Rio

    Ridden by William Fox-Pitt, Chilli Morning was retired after the Rio Olympics.

    ‘Chilli’ is the greatest eventing stallion in the history of the sport — the only one to win a four-star, apart from Windfall II, who won the short format CCI4* at Kentucky in 2004.

    William Fox-Pitt and Chilli have been Britain’s best performers at the annual senior championship on every occasion they have been on the team — in 2013, 2014 and 2016.

    “Chilli for me has been a horse of a lifetime, and as a stallion he is also one in a million,” said William.

    “He was just such an amazing all-rounder who loved his job.”

    avebury, andrew nicholson

    Meanwhile Avebury won Burghley on three consecutive occasions with Andrew Nicholson.

    The outstanding horse was put down in September, aged 16.

    “He was an out and out winner throughout his life — something he loved doing,” said Andrew.

    “Equally special was the fact that he was so kind and genuinely loved people.

    “It was an honour to breed and ride him, and he is missed by everyone who was associated with him.”

    ‘A wonderful horse’

    QUIZ David Broome

    Philco, who was ridden by showjumping legend David Broome, made a name for himself in the late 1970s, jumping 29 clear rounds in succession at Wembley International Horse Show.

    Philco retired from competition at the age of 16 and lived out his days with David until he died at the age of 32.

    Continued below…

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    “It’s a great privilege for Philco to be recognised in the Hall of Fame,” said David.

    “He was a wonderful horse for me, especially in the big competitions.

    “He was very agile and always so neat and careful. He was also quite a tough horse, he certainly didn’t let me down very often.”

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