Social media has been flooded with tributes to Tim Stockdale – a “true legend of showjumping” with a “heart of gold”.
Fellow showjumpers, eventers, sponsors and riders of all ages, disciplines and levels have shared their sadness at the loss of the top rider, who died yesterday (14 November) aged 54.
Tim, who had been diagnosed with stomach cancer in early October, died peacefully at Cynthia Spencer Hospice, Northampton, surrounded by his wife Laura and sons Joseph and Mark.
Fellow showjumper Ellen Whitaker was among the hundreds of people to pay tribute.
“Sometimes I just don’t understand… you have been there for as long as I can remember,” she said. “A household name for ever.
“You always had a big smile and always so full of enthusiasm. You achieved so much for yourself and your country and you were an unbelievable team player – your team will miss you! The greatest of respect to your lovely family. Sending all my love and best wishes.”
Showjumper Yazmin Pinchen described Tim as a “lovely, lovely man.”
“Thank you for all your kind words, advice and encouragement. An inspiring gentleman who will never be forgotten,” she said.
Sara Cox, one of the celebrities taught to showjump by Tim for BBC programme Only Fools on Horses in 2006, said: “Tim was kind, hilarious and very VERY patient when he tried to teach a motley crew of us how to showjump for Sport Relief. He and his family are in my thoughts today.”
Carron Nicol, who runs breeding, dealing and showjumping yard European Sports horses, added: “Saddest news ever that Tim Stockdale has been so cruelly taken from this world. There will be a huge void in the horse world and in the hearts of everyone who knew him.
“Tim was a truly remarkable man and achieved so much in his life. Our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time.
“RIP Tim, you will never be forgotten and will remain in hearts for ever.”
The Longines Global Champions Tour paid tribute to a “highly respected figure in the sport and someone who will be greatly missed”, while a spokesman for feed company Spillers said staff are “heartbroken”.
“What a truly lovely man who over our 20+ year partnership has been a joy to work with and always made us feel so welcome when visiting his yard,” the company said.
“We will miss him deeply. Tim has earned his place as one of the showjumping greats and did it all with a smile on his face. Our thoughts are with his wife Laura and sons Joseph and Mark at this sad time.”
A Tuffa Boots spokesman added: “We are devastated to learn our friend Tim Stockdale has passed away today. We would like to offer Laura, Joseph, Mark and family our deepest sympathies. He was a legend and a truly genuine person and will be sadly missed. RIP Tim.”
French showjumper Dan Delsart described Tim as “like my English father”.
“I texted you for a job 11years ago with my very bad English, you welcomed me into your team and family like an old friend,” he said.
The equestrian world is mourning the loss of one of British showjumping’s best known and most respected figures
“I’m so lucky to have been able to train and ride for you, I feel so honoured to have been part of your demo, books, DVDs, but you also you had a heart of gold, when I was injured, you were there, if I needed help at a show, you were there.
“You will be greatly missed.”
See next week’s H&H magazine (22 November) for a full tribute to one of Britain’s showjumping greats.