Richard Meade: farewell to an eventing legend

  • Triple OIympic gold medallist Richard Meade has died from cancer. He was 76 years old.

    The father of TeamGB member Harry has been at the heart of the equestrian community for more than 50 years.

    Richard was diagnosed with the disease in October and after six weeks of treatment was admitted to hospital on Boxing Day.

    Described as the “ultimate gentleman” Richard was a member of the British eventing team for 21 years.

    Richard won team gold at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico and secured team and individual gold in 1972 in Munich. As well as his Olympic success he also won two gold and three silver World championship medals and three golds and two bronzes at European championships.

    In 1970 Richard claimed Badminton for the first time with The Poacher. Twelve years later he won it again with Speculator III. He also won Burghley in 1964 with Barberry.

    Richard also served on the British Horse Society’s council for more than 10 years and was the chairman of the British Horse Foundation. In 1974 Richard was awarded an OBE.

    Richard retired from riding competitively when Harry was a child, but he has been highly influential in his son’s eventing career. Harry finished third at last year’s Badminton and was selected for the World Equestrian Games in August. His horse Wild Lone then collapsed and died after completing the cross-country phase in Normandy.

    There was an outpouring of support from the equestrian community during Richard’s illness with reader’s sharing stories of his kindness.

    “My very first time at Burghley as a spectator he saw me walking in the rain back to Stamford. He stopped his Range Rover and I was taken back and had a great chat I was hooked on eventing from that day,” said H&H reader Keith Hales.

    “I was presented with my very first dressage rosette by him,” said Mary Paterson. “I was eight years old and riding a Shetland. I remember being in total awe of this riding god.”

    Miranda Vivienne Andrews added: “I had the privilege of working for the family and my best treasure is a video of him riding my horse.”

    Richard Meade

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