‘A true gentleman’: equestrian world pays tribute to Mike Tucker

  • Tributes have poured in for legendary British commentator Mike Tucker, who has died aged 73.

    Mike evented internationally for 20 years, competing at Badminton 12 times.

    His career as a commentator spanned more than 40 years and he will be remembered for his huge contribution to equestrian sport.

    He also spent time as a course-designer, Olympia organising committee chairman, member of the FEI eventing committee, steward at Cheltenham racecourse and field master for the Duke of Beaufort’s hounds.

    Mike was the voice of equestrian commentary, his words guiding audiences through many wonderful moments in the sport throughout his career,” said BBC director of sport Barbara Slater.

    “He was greatly admired by audiences and those of us at BBC Sport alike. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family.”

    Simon Claisse, clerk of the course at Cheltenham, said Mike was a “brilliant steward”.

    “[He was] the guy you wanted by your side when things got tough, his knowledge and experience were invaluable,” he said.

    Broadcaster Rupert Bell added Mike did his job with “passion and commitment” that helped the sport to be understood by the “non-horsey”.

    Journalist and broadcaster Lee McKenzie described him as “a stalwart of the equestrian world” who taught her “so much”.

    “I’m proud to have worked with him and call him a colleague and a friend,” she said.

    Horse of the Year Show event director Emma Wardell said Mike was a commentator at the show for more than 20 years and an “iconic part” of the event.

    “We are honoured to have had Mike take such an integral role within the show and I know that he will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of working with him,” she said.

    Showjumper Tim Stockdale said he was very sad to hear of Mike’s passing.

    “It was a honour to work with him, he was always very professional,” said Tim.

    “The equestrian world has lost a true legend. Our thoughts and prayers are with Angela, Andrew and Emma at this sad time.”

    A ‘true gentleman’

    FEI eventing director Catrin Norinder said the world has lost “one of the true gentlemen of eventing”.

    “He was one of the greatest ambassadors for the sport, both as an athlete and then through his work and contribution forming the future of the eventing sports with the FEI and with the BBC,” she said.

    His warmth, friendship and sense of humour made him enormously popular and he will be very much missed.”

    Cricket and equestrian commentator Jonathan Agnew described Mike as “generous, funny and very hard working” and “truly devoted to his sport and family”.

    “His influence on equestrianism and eventing sport goes far beyond being a commentator.”

    A spokesman for Badminton Horse Trials said the event team will “miss him enormously”.

    “Mike was a huge friend to and supporter of Badminton, having lived all his life in the area,” said the spokesman.

    He was universally liked and respected and was a true personal friend to many of those involved in the horse trials.”

    National Hunt jockey Harry Skelton added Mike was a “true gentleman”.

    “[I] always enjoyed talking to him, he would always look out for us when we where young lads causing chaos around the shows,” he added.

    Eventer Paul Tapner added Mike’s death is a “loss to equestrianism worldwide”.

    “I don’t think there is a single equestrian fan worldwide who has not heard Mike Tucker’s iconic voice at some stage,” said Paul.

    Memorial service

    A service of thanksgiving will be held to celebrate Mike’s life at the Parish Church of St John The Baptist, Cirencester, at 3pm on Tuesday 10 April at 3pm. All are welcome, but the family has requested no flowers. Individuals who wish to make a donation in memory of Mike are invited to do so to Great Western Air Ambulance, Retraining of Racehorses and the MS Society.

    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...