Showjumping legend Ted Edgar dies aged 85

  • Showjumping legend Ted Edgar has died aged 85.

    His wife, Liz, and daughter, Marie, shared the sad news that Ted passed away “peacefully in his sleep” at 6.30am on 30 December.

    “We would like to thank all of the staff at Harper Fields for their amazing care and kindness over the last two-and-a-half years,” said the statement.

    “Details of the funeral will be announced in due course.”

    Born into a farming family, his equestrian career started in the show ring, before moving on to jumping ponies.

    He won the leading showjumper of the year with the chestnut mare Jane Summers in 1958 and was well-known for his partnership with ex-rodeo horse Uncle Max, as well as the Everest-prefixed horses Snaffles, Jetlag, Jumbo, M’Lord and Grandpa.

    Ted’s achievements in the saddle included winning the leading showjumping of the year title at Horse of the Year Show and the King George V Cup at the Royal International in the same year (1969). He also memorably took on the 1963 Hickstead Derby course one-handed, riding with a broken arm in a sling.

    Many top names in international showjumping were connected to the Rio Grande yard and Ted’s training, including Nick Skelton, Lesley McNaught, Ben Maher, Geoff Luckett, Jane Hunter and Emma-Jane Brown.

    He was also known for his groundbreaking sponsorship deals, creating a sponsorship package with Everest Double Glazing that became a household name, raising the sport’s profile on television and in the wider media.

    “Ted was an innovator of the sport who drew commercial investors into it like we had never seen before or perhaps ever will; he was decades ahead of his time in this respect,” said Nick.

    “ I rode for Ted and Liz at the start of my career for 12 years and could write a book on those ‘entertaining’ times alone.

    “But as well as this, it was also a time where I learnt a lot which was to hold me in good stead for the future.

    “Ted was a larger-than-life character and an incredible face for the sport, but he was also a hard taskmaster and I am extremely grateful to him as I definitely wouldn’t have achieved what I have in my life if it hadn’t been for Ted and Liz.

    “My thoughts and respects are with Liz and Marie and the rest of the family.”

    Ted Edgar (L) and Nick Skelton of Great Britain in action during a Cross Coutry Event in Hickstead, West Sussex on 16th April, 1976. (Photo by Ed Lacey/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

    Ted’s brother-in-law, David Broome, described him as a “gifted horseman”.

    “No-one could ever walk in his footsteps,” he added. “He helped me out once at Wembley, my horse Last Resort kept having four faults and the following morning we worked him in the collecting ring.

    “The horse jumped three clear rounds that night, went on to Olympia and several other international shows and never had another pole down, Ted could see the problem straightaway – it was a gift.”

    Showjumping performance manager Di Lampard added it “goes without saying that Ted was a legend within the sport”.

    “Not only as a character but also as a horseman and businessman,” she said. “I’ve always had a huge amount of respect for Ted and as a coach; both he and Liz have delivered more championship riders for Great Britain than anyone else – a legacy from which we are still very much benefitting from.

    “He was always someone you could turn to for advice and always happy to help.

    “I remember him saying to me very early on in my career: ‘you need a broad back and a heart as big as a wheelbarrow in this sport’ and it is something I’ve always remembered and drawn on.”

    His wife, Liz, added Ted’s favourite colour was red.

    “It matched the rosettes he was supposed to win, and he was always out to win,” she said.

    “Racing was a great love, as was point-to-point and hunter chasing, but hunting was his greatest love of all – it was his recreation,” she added.

    “Everyone knew where they stood, there were no grey areas, he told it as it was.”

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