First female Badminton winner dies aged 86

  • The first woman to win Badminton Horse Trials has died at the age of 86.

    Margaret Hough, who took the title in 1954 with Bambi V, had been suffering from a chest infection, having had issues with her breathing since childhood.

    Indeed her son Peter Gleave told H&H it was due to this that Margaret started riding in the first place.

    “She’d had bronchitis as a child and the doctor said she should start riding, that’s how she got into it,” he said. “They were a farming family, her father had a milk round, but she got into ponies.”

    Margaret, who lived in Bolton, later swapped one of these ponies for Bambi V.

    “It was ground-breaking for a woman to win it,” Mr Gleave said. “One or two of the men at the time looked down at women having a go and doing well so it really was.

    “But although she knew what she’d achieved, she never made a big deal out of it. My father was always dead proud of her; he’d always be telling people about it and she’d look at him almost as though she was telling him off!”

    The mare was also selected as reserve for the British eventing team for the 1952 Helsinki Olympics and was on the gold medal-winning European Championships team with Bertie Hill the following year.

    Margaret rode until six or seven years ago, Mr Gleave said, although this was mainly hacking, but she had continued to compete in low-level dressage until she was in her mid-70s.

    “She was strong-willed,” Mr Gleave said. “Very determined – if she wanted to do something, she’d do it.”

    Margaret was also involved with training members of her local Pony Club branch, the East Cheshire. After Bambi retired, she bred eight foals from her, one of whom, Gemsbok, was shortlisted for the Junior European Eventing Championships with Mr Gleave and is still with the family at the age of 28.

    She is survived by her husband Wilfred, whom she married in 1960, Peter and three grandchildren.

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

    You may like...