Popular trainer and event rider Caroline Creighton has died aged 56.
Caroline died in hospital on Wednesday (14 October) after a long battle with cancer.
She had been based with Lucy Wiegersma and her family at Warren Farm in Beaworthy, Devon, for many years.
“We have all been humbled by her bravery in her fight against cancer over the past two and half years, but her illness at the end was aggressive and very sudden,” said Lucy.
“She is now out of pain and at peace. We all love you so much Caroline and you will leave a big hole in our lives.”
Caroline helped shape the career of event rider Austin O’Connor.
“Caroline was a huge part of my career and her loss is very hard for me to accept,” he told H&H.
“She had an incredible way of training and helping riders at every level and her opinion was one I hugely respected, back when I was just starting and now. She had a vast depth of knowledge and was such a talented rider, yet as a person she was so unassuming — one of the many reasons Caroline was loved by so many people.
“I will miss being able to call her for advice, when things are going both good and bad, but I will never forget everything Caroline has taught me — both on and off the horse. I’m so grateful that I got to spend much of this year with her and that she had been well enough to enjoy the season — she wouldn’t of wanted it any other way!”
Caroline helped many young riders and juniors on their way to European championship successes and played a key role in increasing involvement with British Eventing (BE) in the South West.
She taught all levels of rider and coached for the Pony Club and riding clubs.
“Caroline is a great example to us all,” said Lizzel Winter FBHS who advises BE on coaching development.
“She was an incredibly talented coach, rider and mentor; she was utterly professional at all times and is irreplaceable. She was a great friend and will be greatly missed by so many.”
Caroline was a much-valued member of the equestrian coaching workforce in her role as coach educator and UKCC Assessor.
She had also completed the coaching development programme and was one of the first to complete the eventing specific UKCC Level 3.
Horse & Hound showing, vet and point-to-point editor Aimi Clark was taught by Caroline.
“Some of my fondest Pony Club memories are of lessons with Caroline, and the two camps I went on with her teaching my group are the most fun I’ve ever had on a horse,” she said.
“I continued to train with her for many years after — as have all of my old Pony Club friends — because she had this brilliant way of getting amateur riders to challenge ourselves without ever feeling out of our comfort zones.
“If you ask anyone where to go for help in the West Country, Caroline’s name would be the first mentioned. She was one of those all-round brilliant people who will be sorely missed by the hundreds of riders that she helped in Devon and Cornwall alone.”