Farewell to the half-Clydesdale showjumper who took on the world

  • The half-Clydesdale Wiston Bridget who took on the world under Tim Stockdale has been put down aged 29.

    The distinctive mare had lived at Renkum Stud for the past 15 years, her owner Jeanette Edwards having given her to Henk and Louise Minderman.

    Henk told H&H Bridget had eight offspring — one of whom is now a police horse in London — and was a “fantastic” mother, giving birth to her last foal aged 25, but she had been losing condition recently.

    “She’d started going wobbly behind, and couldn’t eat as much,” Henk said. “Then on Tuesday (10 September) she didn’t even want an apple, so I rang the man and he came. We’d had her 15 years.”

    Bridget won nearly £100,000, jumping all over the world. Her successes with Tim included jumping double clear in the Hickstead Derby in 2000 to come second — the first combination to jump double clear and not win — as well as winning puissances at the Horse of the Year Show and Dublin Horse Show.

    Bridget and Tim were the best Brits at the Aachen Nations Cup in 2000, also jumping in the Spruce Meadows Nations Cup and grand prix the same year (pictured), and were shortlisted for the Sydney Olympics.

    Tim’s wife Laura told H&H Bridget was a “feisty mare, but a lovely one”.

    “We had some times with her,” she said.

    “She was so nice to deal with, it was only when someone got on board she got so strong — when Tim first rode her, he said ‘This will put some biceps on me!’”

    Laura said Tim could “never risk going too fast”.

    “He always went for clear rounds because if she got too fast, she was like a steam train, pulling his arms out,” she said. “Tim had some great results from her, although we always said, if she’d been born 10 to 15 years earlier, looking at horses like Ryan’s Son and Apollo, in that era she might have been even more incredible than she was.”

    Laura added that the family found out Bridget was born in a field very near a property Tim’s brother later bought near Nantwich.

    “So there had always been a bit of a link,” she said. “She and Tim had a great partnership; he had a lot of trust in her. She jumped some huge fences but I don’t think he ever felt there was one that was too big for her, she had a heart of gold.

    “She was such a lovely girl and I’m so glad she had all those happy years in such a good home.”

    Henk agreed that Bridget had “the biggest heart”.

    “She couldn’t really jump those biggest combinations but she did it because of her big heart, and that’s why I wanted to breed from her as that’s the main thing any showjumper needs,” he said.

    “She didn’t really have a canter; she was always cantering into the ground but she jumped all those jumps and made the distances — it’s unbelievable.”

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    Henk said Bridget was “shy” when she first arrived but settled into a mare who was easy to deal with.

    “Except worming!” he added. “You had to have a ladder or climb a gate to get anywhere near her mouth; when she put her head up, she was eight feet tall.

    “She was a fantastic mother, who loved her babies, and loved being in her herd.”

    Bridget’s last foal Renkum Bardot, now a four-year-old, is to be ridden by Henk and Louise’s daughter Meredith, and the family expects great things.

    “She’s very talented, and very similar to Bridget in her head,” Henk said.

    “All Bridget’s offspring are very brave and honest, and they can all jump.

    “We’ll miss her.”

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