Producer of the legendary Foxhunter, Norman Holmes, dies

  • Norman Holmes – who produced Foxhunter, Britain’s famous Olympic gold medal-winning showjumper – died at his home in Thrussington, Leicestershire on 18 September. He was 94.

    Mr Holmes, a devoted hunting man, bought Foxhunter as an unbroken four year-old in 1944 for £60 from his breeder and hunted him with the Quorn only a fortnight later.

    He changed the horse’s name from Eelskin to Foxhunter, schooled him as a showjumper and went on to win top-level classes at county shows.

    “He was very easy to break-in, had a kind eye and so much quality,” he said.

    After noting the horse’s early successes, Sir Harry Llewellyn bought Foxhunter for £1,500 from Mr Holmes in 1947. The great horse became a legend as Harry Llewellyn’s partner in Britain’s team gold victory at the 1952 Helsinki Games.

    Mr Holmes produced many more good horses, including the great show hunter, The Curate.

    Towards the end of his life, he continued to follow the Quorn by car, until shortly before his death.

    “Showjumping is of a much higher standard today,” he said in a recent interview. “But we haven’t won another gold since Foxhunter. I hope we manage it at the London Games.”

    Norman’s wife Margaret predeceased him in January.

    His funeral will take place in Thrussington on Tuesday 4 October.

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