Legendary show jumper dies

  • British show jumping is mourning the passing of show jumping legend Don Beard, who died in hospital recently aged 85 following an illness.

    Beard set the British high jump show jumping record at Olympia in 1937. Riding the German-bred 16hh gelding Swank, he recorded a height of 7ft 6 1/4in (2.28m). However, his achievement was surrounded by controversy as some felt that the height of the fence could be as much as 7ft 8in and therefore a world record.

    It took 42 years for Beard’s record to be broken, when Nick Skelton and the gallant Lastic cleared 7ft 7 5/16in (2.32m) at Olympia to take the record.

    Beard’s legacy extends far beyond the realms of British and world records. He represented Britain on Nations Cup teams in Dublin and London in 1954, riding his great horse Costa. He also provided invaluable advice to the British team while accompanying British team manager Ronnie Massarella at many Nations Cups.

    Beard was awarded an honorary life membership of the BSJA for his services to show jumping in 1989.

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