With the main summer season of competition beginning in earnest this week – the one person who will be missed is showjumper and sportsman Tim Stockdale. This article is not meant to be an obituary but some context is needed for people to understand what an amazing sportsman he was and why it is so relevant that the family have started a really worthy cause in his name – The Tim Stockdale Foundation.
Tim was a twin and was born in 1964. He had three older brothers and a sister together with a twin brother Ivan. He was bright at school but preferred the more practical subjects. Despite his reported ‘rather unpromising start’ in a career of showjumping with his ‘smelly pony’ as he was reported to call it, he rose to the very top echelons of the sport as an international rider representing the UK on over fifty occasions.
His motto, how he viewed and lived his life was “There’s no such word as can’t”
Tim competed in the 2002 World Equestrian Games, he made many Nations Cup appearances and represented GB in the 2008 Olympic Games. In 2010, he was the GB team’s Chef d’Equipe for the winning Nations Cup team in Abu Dhabi.
He started his own yard, after previously gaining experience with Mike Saywell and Graham Fletcher, in 1990 in Nottinghamshire with six horses. The list of his winning achievements are far too long to mention here, (this is not meant to be an obituary) but my personal recollection and certainly one of his most prestigious wins was his victory in The King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead 2010 riding Fresh Direct Kalico Bay.
Tim married Laura in 1996 and they opened a yard together, Dovecot Farm, in the same year. As well as a very accomplished rider, he was an excellent trainer, and gave many lectures and demonstrations on the training of showjumpers, always making his talk relevant to his audience, be they pony club members or well known professionals. Tim and Laura have two sons, Joe and Mark. Both now are continuing the work their father started with Laura.
In 2011, Tim had a devastating accident when he was thrown from a horse and broke his neck. Many thought that Tim would never ride a horse again. They obviously never appreciated Tim’s determination and how he lived by his motto, “no such word as can’t” Within three months Tim was back riding again.
Tim Stockdale was better known to the wider public through his media appearances on BBC TV as a pundit, where he and Clare Balding were able to bat one off the other to provide an entertaining and informative commentary on the sport. Tim will also be remembered for his contribution to the Sport Relief Charity, when he trained a few celebrities to ride a horse. The riding ended up being pretty dodgy, but the entertainment value was fantastic.
When we were had a stand at Hickstead, I shall always remember Tim walking, always with purpose, up or down the funnel and always acknowledging us on the stand with a sort of growling ‘alright then!’. To start with, I thought Tim as rather gruff and not necessarily very approachable, but soon realised how wrong I was. He was always a great and enthusiastic ambassador for the sport in promoting its benefits and profile. With his early and untimely passing at the end of last year, we are all the losers!
The Tim Stockdale Foundation is designed to help fund and encourage young people who want to participate in sport, something that Tim was very passionate about. I am sure that we will be mentioning this foundation again in our articles. Don’t forget the special run taking place during the Hickstead Royal International Horse Show in July. Not only was Tim a showjumping icon, but he had interest in all sport, especially cricket. If you would like to donate to the Tim Stockdale Foundation you can find more information at
The editor Bernard Simpson has been involved with horses and the industry for over 40 years. Together with his wife, he bred many flat racehorses including some which were Royal Ascot winners. He is also experienced in equine media using video, photography and journalism. Bernard currently lives in Wiltshire. He and guest authors now present this blog and hope you like our articles.
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