By Debbie Emery
Liz Finney, the international endurance rider, former chair of the British Endurance Riding Association (BERA) and long-time chef d’equipe of the British endurance team, died on 19 March from pancreatic cancer. She was 77.
Liz Finney (née Eatough) grew up in Burnley, Lancashire, and began riding at a very early age with her mother, who was equally passionate about horses. Liz later passed on her love of horses to her daughters, Caroline and Debbie, and supported them in all their Pony Club and riding club adventures.
After attending Bradford University to study pharmaceuticals, Liz began working at ICI (now AstraZeneca), in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, where she met her future husband, Peter. They were married for 54 years and he was by her side when she died.
Liz worked as a pharmacist for most of her life, but her true calling was in the world of endurance riding. She began competing in the 1970s on Show Girl II and the pair were regular fixtures at the Golden Horseshoe in Exford, Somerset, before advancing to international competitions.
Liz was a member of the British team at the first European Championships in France, then won an individual silver medal the following year in Germany. In 1990, she was a team gold medallist at the World Equestrian Games in Stockholm, Sweden. Following Show Girl II’s retirement, Liz had great success on the family’s beloved Irish sport horse Carland Venture, in countless competitions. In 1996, she rode in California’s 100-mile Tevis Cup, known as the hardest endurance ride in America.
While still excelling in her own competitions, Liz was chef d’equipe of the British endurance team on 14 occasions from 1995 to 2019. She officiated as an FEI judge in Europe, the US and Dubai, and was president of the ground jury at the World Championships at Euston Park in 2012. Liz was chair of BERA until 1999. In 2001, BERA and the Endurance Horse & Pony Society merged to form Endurance GB. She was also the chairman of Cheshire Endurance Group, which she founded in 1991.
Liz is survived by her husband, two daughters, and two very muddy horses.
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