‘An amazing lady, full of fun’: farewell to much-loved member of the ‘Yorkshire riding fraternity’


  • Sue Emsley-Smith has died, aged 76, from throat cancer.

    Sue was born in Bradford and brought up in Rawdon. Her family moved to Hessle when she was in her mid-teens and she completed her schooling at Beverley High School for Girls, followed by a degree in textiles.

    Sue was actively involved with British Riding Clubs when she lived and worked around London, and horses were her life. She adored her thoroughbred Treasure and was a keen rider, but less interested in competing.

    But she very much enjoyed being involved in competition; she was a regular writer for the Harewood Combined Training Group (HCTG) weekday dressage, which she took over running with aplomb.

    “She did so much both for our club, and British Eventing [BE], where she was a huge part of the organising team of local events Allerton Horse Trials and Bramham Horse Trials in the young event horse classes,” a spokesman for HCTG said. “She was part of the scoring dream team for BE and BRC area competitions around the country, where she had many close friendships and was well known for her proficiency and reliability.

    “Sue ran our club dressage for so many years, and it is her professionalism and kindness that in equal measures has made it so successful; with its friendly atmosphere she welcomed people of all levels to train in a high-quality environment. No one could quite add up a dressage sheet like Sue, and if you came along to help you were well fed by her too. She helped with everything we did, never shying away from lugging around jump wings, dressage boards, sorting out entries, times, or doing whatever was required no matter the weather.

    “Sue was an amazing lady, full of fun, a wry wit, with honesty, but very patient, full of energy and good humour. She really was one of a kind, always inspiring the next person to learn and generously giving so much, for the benefit of others.”

    When Sue was diagnosed with cancer, she told her doctor she had to be fit for Allerton Park at the end of this summer.

    “Unbelievably, against all odds, with her strength and determination she joined us over the event weekend in the score box as always,” a joint statement from the teams at Allerton, Bramham and others said.

    “Sue will be sorely missed throughout the Yorkshire riding fraternity. Her loss will be felt most particularly at Allerton where she was a central member of our committee. Sue oversaw scoring and was wonderful at sharing her understanding of numbers. Her huge loyalty to eventing meant she was always prepared to pick up a brush and paint an enormous jump, clean stacks of dressage boards or any one of the multitude of humdrum tasks involved in setting up an event.

    “Sue was an amazing friend. Nothing was too much trouble so long as she could be accompanied by her current hound. We will all miss her wry wit and twinkling eyes – a truly generous lady who was devoted to helping with equestrian events, and sharing her expertise and time. We will miss her greatly and hold our memories of her close.”

    Sue’s husband predeceased her; she leaves brother and sister-in-law David and Lorna, and nieces Kate and Anna.

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