Tag Archives: In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Wim Ernes (NED), Olympic Dressage Judge and Dutch Team Coach (1958-2016)

Wim Ernes (far right) celebrating with (left to right) his gold medal winning team of Diederik van Silfhout, Patrick van der Meer, Edward Gal and Hans Peter Minderhoud at the FEI European Championships 2015 in Aachen (GER). (Arnd Bronkhorst)

Lausanne (SUI), 2 November 2016 – Wim Ernes, Dutch national team coach and FEI 5* Dressage judge, has passed away after a battle against cancer. He was 58.

His proudest moments during six years as national team coach came at last year’s FEI European Championships in Aachen, when the Netherlands took team gold and individual bronze, and at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, when they claimed team and individual silver and individual bronze. But these were just two in a long list of successes that threw the spotlight on Wim Ernes’ role as a highly successful and admired national coach.

His efforts to improve the quality of riding and level of judging is also well known, and judging at the London 2012 Olympic Games, three FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals and at the FEI European Championships 2007 in Turin (ITA) were also major career highlights. When he was promoted to an FEI 5* judge in January 2008 he was one of the youngest ever to join the elite circle at that time.

Wim Ernes was also very involved in the breeding side of the industry, chairing the KWPN Stallion Dressage Selection Committee for three years until November 2015, having previously worked extensively within the Committee for five years before taking over as Chair.

In recognition of his huge contribution to equestrian sport in the Netherlands, Wim Ernes was earlier this week honoured with the prestigious golden KNHS award by the Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation (De Koninklijke Nederlandse Hippische Sportfederatie).

“With the death of Wim Ernes, Dutch elite sport has lost a very special coach with a personal style of working,” High Performance Director at the Netherlands Olympic Committee Maurits Hendriks said. “He was open and believed in the power of sharing.”

“Wim possessed the ability to connect people to work together and create an atmosphere where everyone felt at home,” High Performance Director and Secretary General of the Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation (KNHS) Maarten van der Heijden said.

Frank Kemperman, FEI Executive Board member and Chair of the FEI Dressage Committee also remembers Wim Ernes fondly. “Wim was an all-round horseman with a heart for Dressage. He was also a really focused judge and a man who was always coming up with new ideas for the sport. We will miss him intensely.”

Former FEI Dressage Director Trond Asmyr also spoke warmly of him. “Nobody ever had a bad word to say about Wim. He was one of the sport’s most respected judges and made a real difference to the level of our sport in many countries.”

The 2015 European gold medal team of Edward Gal, Hans Peter Minderhoud, Diederik van Silfhout and Patrick van der Meer will carry the coffin at Wim Ernes’ funeral service in his home town of Schimmert (NED) on Saturday.

The FEI extends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Wim Ernes, to the Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation and the global equestrian community.

FEI Media Contact:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

In Memoriam: Albino Garbari (ITA), Olympic Eventing Course Designer (1934-2016)

Albino Garbari (Marina Cima)

Lausanne (SUI), 14 October 2016 – Albino Garbari, Cross Country course designer at hundreds of major Eventing competitions, including the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and the 1998 FEI World Equestrian Games™, has passed away. He was 82.

A hugely popular figure in the Italian Eventing community, Albino Garbari moved to Rome in 1960 and dedicated his life to equestrian sports.

He was first head of the Federal Equestrian Centre of Pratoni del Vivaro, which was created for the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. He then started course designing in 1965, and was the Cross Country course designer for every major event organised in Italy, including the FEI European Eventing Championships in 1995 and the 1998 FEI World Equestrian Games™, both of which were held at Pratoni del Vivaro. He also worked as an FEI Steward for Eventing and Dressage throughout his career.

Amongst the many awards he received in recognition of his services to equestrian sport was the Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 2007.

Alessandro Fiorani, Head of Eventing at the Federazione Italiana Sport Equestri (FISE), said: “Those of my generation have grown up with the Albino teachings. I was a child and I saw his work, and then in my time at FISE I have had the opportunity to see the great qualities of this man who taught me everything. He conveyed the fundamental teachings of everything connected to the management of the horse and the team, and we have been able to pass on this incredible knowledge. Even when he retired, Albino Garbari continued to give advice and support whenever needed, and he never failed to do this. We will miss him.”

Catrin Norinder, FEI Eventing and Olympic Director, said: “Albino was a brilliant course designer and such a big character. He will be missed immensely by everyone in the Eventing community. He dedicated his life to equestrian sport and leaves a huge legacy.”

“Albino was a very special person and an amazing figurehead in the Italian Eventing community. He has been my mentor in course designing and will be greatly missed by all,” said Giuseppe della Chiesa, Chair of the FEI Eventing Committee and international course designer.

The funeral of Albino Garbari will take place Friday at 14.00 in Rocca di Papa.

The FEI extends its sincere condolences to Albino Garbari’s family and friends, to the Italian Equestrian Federation and the global equestrian community.

FEI Media Contacts:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

In Memoriam: Six-Time Olympian and US Team Jumping Coach, Frank Chapot (USA), 1932-2016

Photo: ©Collection Poudret.

Lausanne (SUI), 22 June 2016 – Frank Chapot, six-time Olympian and USA Jumping coach, passed away peacefully on 20 June at the Somerset Valley Assisted Living Center in Bound Brook, NJ. He was 84.

For five decades, Frank Chapot played an instrumental role on the USA Jumping team, flying the flag for the USA at the top level of the sport, inspiring generations of riders and coaching multiple winning teams.

A winner of the renowned Maclay Championship at junior level in 1947, Frank Chapot went on to have a remarkable career as a professional, joining the United States Equestrian Team (USET) in 1956, a year after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School.

He was the youngest member of the USA Olympic Jumping Team when he made his Olympic debut in 1956 with the one-eyed horse Belair, which his mother had bought for just $3,500. The Olympic equestrian events were held in Stockholm (SWE) that year because of quarantine issues in Melbourne.

He served in the Air Force for two years between the Korean and Vietnam wars, but still found the time to continue riding and competing.

Frank Chapot competed in five more Olympic Games, winning team silver in Rome 1960 and again in Munich 1972. He also claimed individual bronze in the 1974 World Championships. He participated on a record 46 winning FEI Nations Cup teams, three Pan American Games teams, and claimed victories in the President’s Cup, the Grand Prix of New York, and London’s King George V Gold Cup among many others.

After hanging up his competition boots, Frank Chapot succeeded Bertalan (Bert) de Némethy as the USA chef d’equipe, a role he held for 24 years until his retirement in 2005. Under his leadership, the USA Jumping team won nine Olympic medals and nine Pan American Games medals, including the first-ever team gold at  Los Angeles 1984, gold again 20 years later at Athens 2004 and silver in Atlanta 1996. Team USA also won gold at the 1986 world championships in Aachen (GER).

Frank Chapot was also known for breeding and training the famous Gem Twist, the charismatic grey that won team and individual silver with Greg Best at the Seoul Olympics in 1988, a hugely poignant moment for Frank. Gem Twist was named Best Horse at the 1990 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Stockholm after the four-way change-horse final.

Frank Chapot married his two-time Olympic team mate, the former Mary Mairs, in 1965. They had ridden together on the 1964 Olympic team in Tokyo, where the squad was sixth and Chapot was the highest-placed American, finishing seventh on San Lucas. The couple also rode together on the Olympic team in 1968 in Mexico City. Their two daughters, Wendy and Laura, both became successful equestrians, with Laura competing at the top of the sport, including winning team bronze at the 2007 Pan American Games.

Frank Chapot was a founding member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Board of Directors and served on the Board of Directors of the American Grandprix Association and a number of horse shows. He was honoured for his long list of achievements in 1994 when he was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, two years after his wife Mary.

Frank Chapot remained active in the sport until recent years, when his health declined. He was a renowned course designer and judge and was very much involved in the governance of the sport. In 2001 he received the United States Equestrian Federation’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the sport.

“Frank was a legend in his own life time,” John Roche, FEI Director of Jumping, said. “He was a horseman through and through, with an amazing eye for a horse. Apart from having an outstanding career as a rider, he was a very accomplished trainer. He was a passionate supporter of the Nations Cup competition and was on 46 winning Nations Cup teams.

“For many years he played a very important role in establishing and managing the FEI World Cup Jumping series in North America. He was an accomplished course designer and a hugely respected FEI international Jumping judge. His passing marks the end of an era. He helped to shape equestrian sport in the United States and will be greatly missed by all those who were fortunate enough to have come in contact with him. Our deepest sympathies to his wife Mary and daughters Laura and Wendy.”

“Frank Chapot was one of my best friends, one of international Jumping’s best friends, one of the United States’ best friends and certainly one of the best friends of the horse,” FEI 1st Vice-President John Madden said.

“Frank knew more about friendship than most. He was fiercely loyal, honest and clear. He was a man of few words, a family man, tough as nails but full of compassion. These human qualities shaped show jumping in America and influenced it worldwide. Every US rider today has been influenced in a positive way by Frank. He made us all better. I will miss him. We will all miss him.”

Frank Chapot is survived by his wife of 51 years, Mary, daughters Laura Chapot and Wendy Nunn, an accountant who has been successful as an amateur-owner jumper, his son-in-law Edward Nunn, and grandchildren, Frank, Mary and Cathleen.

The FEI extends its sincere condolences to Frank Chapot’s family and many friends, to the United States Equestrian Federation and the global equestrian community.

FEI Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

In Memoriam: Daddy Stibbe (NED), 1922-2016

Daddy Stibbe (Arnd Bronkhorst)

Lausanne (SUI), 28 April 2016 – Daddy Stibbe, former member of the FEI Eventing Committee (1982-87), has passed away at home in Vught (NED). He was 93.

Born in 1922, Daddy Stibbe was a fan of equestrian sport from a young age as he grew up in Amsterdam. He was one of the founding members of the famous Indoor Brabant and was President of the show from 1967 to 1972. He also founded the horse trials known as Outdoor Helvoirt.

He was also a successful businessman, building up the family business NV Bloch & Stibbe Hollandia shoe factories, but his real passion was Eventing. His son Eddy became a successful international rider, winning individual bronze for the Netherlands at the 1993 FEI European Eventing Championships in Achselschwang (GER).

In 2000, in recognition of their services to the sport of Eventing, Daddy and Eddy Stibbe were honoured by the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee with the Olympic Order.

Daddy Stibbe, who held many committee and board positions through his long and distinguished years of service, was a member of the FEI Eventing Committee from 1982-87, and was also Chef d’Equipe of the Dutch Eventing team for a number of years.

“Daddy Stibbe was a larger than life character and loved the sport of Eventing with a true passion. He was a familiar figure known to all, cruising around the events on his bike when Eddy was riding,” FEI Eventing & Olympic Director Catrin Norinder said. “As an FEI Eventing Committee member he contributed greatly to forming the modern sport. He will be missed by all his many friends in the international Eventing community.”

“Daddy was an integral part of the Eventing world in many different roles,” New Zealand’s double Olympic gold medallist Mark Todd said. “It was always a pleasure to catch up with him at events and share stories. He had a wicked and very dry sense of humour. He will be very much missed but very fondly remembered.”

Hugh Thomas, Director of Badminton Horse Trials, said: “Daddy was a huge enthusiast for the sport. He travelled to all the major events and was an articulate advocate for the less developed nations when he was a member of the FEI Committee. He will be missed by many.”

The FEI extends its sincere condolences to Daddy Stibbe’s family, his wide circle of friends, to the Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation and the global equestrian community.

FEI Media Contacts:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

In Memoriam: Former FEI 1st Vice President Freddy Serpieri (GRE), 1938-2016

Lausanne (SUI), 26 April 2016 – Freddy Serpieri, former FEI 1st Vice President (1998-2006) and former President of the Hellenic Equestrian Federation, has passed away. He was 77.

A lifetime supporter of all things equestrian, Freddy Serpieri’s name is synonymous with the sport in Greece where he served with passion, vision and dedication for more than half a century as an athlete and an executive, raising the image of the sport nationally and taking it to international level.

Freddy (Fernand) Serpieri was born in Athens (GRE) on 28 April 1938. The son of Jonny Serpieri and Didi Vlastou, he came from a prominent Greek family with significant mining interests. He studied economics in Geneva (SUI) and served as CEO in a number of family companies.

As an athlete he won the Greek national Junior Jumping Championship in 1955, and the Senior Championship in 1969, as well as individual gold in the 1973 Balkan Senior Championship. He was President of the first riding club founded in Greece, the Hellenic Riding Club, serving from 1980 until 1995.

In a lengthy career as a sports executive, Freddy Serpieri served as President of the Hellenic Equestrian Federation from the its formation in 1990 until 2001. He was elected Chair of FEI Regional Group 1 in 1997, a position he held until 2005. When HRH The Infanta Doña Pilar de Borbòn (ESP) was elected as FEI President in 1998, she appointed Freddy Serpieri as her 1st Vice President and he remained in the post until 2006.

He was a member of the Greek National Olympic Committee and President of the International Olympic Academy (IOA), President and Treasurer of the Greek National Sports Confederation SEGAS, Chair of the SEGAS Riding Sport Committee from 1975 to 1984, Secretary General of the Greek Jockey Club, a member of the Organising Committee of the 1991 Mediterranean Games and President of the Hellenic Riding Club. He was also made an Honorary 1st Vice President of the FEI and Honorary President of the Hellenic Equestrian Federation.

Freddy Serpieri was very active in the Olympic Movement for many years, serving as Vice President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee from 2001. He was one of the torch bearers during the Torch Relay for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, carrying the Olympic Flame along the new Olympic Village Road in Aharnon, Athens.

It was thanks to Freddy Serpieri that the magnificent Markopoulos Riding Centre, venue for the Olympic equestrian events in 2004, was acquired.

“Freddy was a very good friend and I really appreciated his work as Chair of Group 1 and as 1st Vice President of the FEI, and specially the efforts he made for the development of the sport,” FEI President Ingmar de Vos said. “On behalf of the FEI and the equestrian community, we send our sincere condolences to his family and friends. We will always remember him fondly.”

Former FEI President HRH The Infanta Doña Pilar de Borbòn (ESP) said: “I cannot let Freddy Serpieri’s passing go by without saying how much he will be missed. He was Vice President for quite some time and I, and I hope all of us, will always be thankful for his wise advice, lovely manners, and sense of humour. For myself I have lost a very good friend. May God have him in his glory.”

Freddy Serpieri is survived by his second wife, two children and four grandchildren from his first marriage. A private funeral service was held in Athens today (26 April). At the request of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, the Greek and Olympic flags were flown at half-mast in his memory at the Panathenaic Olympic Stadium, venue for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.

The FEI extends its sincere condolences to Freddy Serpieri’s family, his many friends, to the Hellenic Equestrian Federation and the global equestrian community.

FEI Media Contacts:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

In Memoriam: Roger Haller (USA), Atlanta 1996 Olympic Course Designer

Roger Haller, cross country course designer for the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games and the 1978 FEI World Championships course in Kentucky (USA), who has died at the age of 70. (USEA Archives)

Lausanne (SUI), 1 April 2016 – Roger Haller (USA), cross country course designer for the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games and the 1978 FEI World Championships course in Kentucky (USA), passed away peacefully at home in Georgia on 30 March 2016 following a battle with cancer. He had celebrated his 70th birthday on 13 March.

Roger Haller was a former Vice Chair and member of the FEI Eventing Committee and a much respected FEI Technical Delegate, who devoted his life to the sport of Eventing as an athlete, course designer, event organiser and judge.

He played a major role in the evolution of the sport of Eventing and, as a member of the FEI Eventing Committee, played a key role in the redrafting of the discipline rules, including the introduction of the star-system for international events.

Roger Haller developed a love for Eventing at a young age. He started competing in equitation classes at the age of nine and was riding at the United States Equestrian Team (USET) headquarters by the time he was 17. In 1972, he was selected as the alternate rider for the US Olympic squad in Munich (GER) and was also shortlisted for the 1974 FEI World Championships on Golden Griffin.

He served as Vice President of the United States Eventing Association (USEA) and was a long-standing member of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) High Performance Committee, the USEF Licensed Officials Committee, and the USEF Eventing Technical Committee, serving as its chairman for two years. He was also Executive Director of the Pan American Equestrian Confederation’s General Assembly.

The USEA acknowledged his contribution to the sport in 2012 when they inducted him into the Hall of Fame.

“Roger was hugely influential in the development of the sport of Eventing,” FEI Eventing and Olympic Director Catrin Norinder said. “Roger’s contribution to Eventing as an FEI Official has been invaluable. During his four-year term on the FEI Eventing Committee he established the blueprint for a much more direct cooperation between Technical Delegates and organising committees, and was instrumental in the redrafting of the Rules book and the development of Continental Cups for Eventing. He was such a great character with a really wonderful sense of humour. He will be sadly missed by all of us in the Eventing community.”

The FEI extends its sincere condolences to Roger Haller’s wife Ann, sister Barbra Pace and step-siblings Sidney Funston and Richard Reid, his many friends and to the USEF, USEA and the global Eventing community.

FEI Media Contacts:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

In Memoriam: Spruce Meadows Founder, Ron Southern (CAN), 1930-2016

Ron Southern, co-founder of the legendary Spruce Meadows and iconic Alberta businessman, has passed away at the age of 85. (FEI/Spruce Meadows)

Lausanne (SUI), 22 January 2016 – Ron Southern, founder and Co-Chairman of Spruce Meadows, and iconic Alberta entrepreneur and businessman passed away Thursday morning at his home. He was 85.

Ron Southern and his wife Margaret (Marge) purchased Copithorne Ranch south of Calgary with the vision of establishing a world-class equestrian facility. Spruce Meadows was built for their two daughters, Nancy and Linda, who had long been involved in the sport. The Southerns opened the doors to Spruce Meadows in 1975 and hosted the first tournament the following year. Over the last 40 years, as a result of the leadership and vision of the Southern family, Spruce Meadows has become an iconic sports venue that is today recognised as one of the world’s leading venue for international and national Jumping competitions, hosting 300 events annually.

Since the venue opened, riders representing 57 countries have earned $110 million in prize money in front of almost 10 million visitors. Ron Southern’s daughter, Linda Southern-Heathcott, who competed in Jumping at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta (USA), took over as president and CEO of Spruce Meadows in 2006.

An astute businessman, Ron Southern started the Alberta Trailer Company in 1947 with his father with only 15 trailers. It eventually became the ATCO Group, a Calgary-based conglomerate with interests ranging from construction trailers to pipelines to natural gas distribution. ATCO now has operations in more than 100 countries, 8,000 employees and $19 billion in assets. Ron Southern served as the company’s president for 48 years.

Ron Southern’s achievements were recognised with both Canadian and international awards. He was a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and received Canada’s highest civilian honor when he was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1986.

He was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1990, in recognition of his promotion of Anglo-Canadian relations in the fields of commerce, culture and sport. In 2003 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Companion in 2006. He received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, as well as an Alberta Order of Excellence. Ron and Marge Southern were jointly-inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

“It is with great sadness that we learnt of Ron Southern’s passing,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “He was truly a remarkable man with a tremendous capacity for life and an incredible love of equestrian sport. His business acumen, passion, drive and vision were evident in all facets of his life and were the characteristics that made Spruce Meadows such a hugely successful venue.

“He was an incredibly generous man and community leader who gave so much and made a lasting impression on everyone he met. His legacy will live on in the generations of athletes who compete at Spruce Meadows for many years to come. He will be sorely missed.”

Ron Southern is survived by his wife Marge and two daughters, Nancy Southern and Linda Southern-Heathcott.

The FEI extends its sincere condolences to Ron Southern’s family and many friends, to Equine Canada and the global equestrian community.

FEI Media contacts:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

In Memoriam: General OP Malhotra, PVSM, (IND) 1922-2015

Lausanne (SUI), 6 January 2016 – General Om Prakash (OP) Malhotra, PVSM (Retd), former President of the Equestrian Federation of India (EFI), a founding member and former President of the Asian Equestrian Federation (AEF) and former Chief of Army Staff, Indian Army has passed away at his home in Gurgaon. He was 93.

General Malhotra was President of the Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) for almost nine years. A keen sportsman, his contribution, guidance and dedication to the sport will always be remembered by the equestrian community.

General Malhotra was commissioned in the Artillery Regiment in November 1941. He was honoured with the Param Vishist Seva Medal (PVSM) in 1976 for outstanding services to the nation and the Indian Army. He was Vice Chief of Staff before taking over as Chief of Staff of the Indian Army in May 1978, serving in that post for three years. He was an Honorary Senior Colonel Commandant of the Indian Army Artillery Regiment, as well as an Honorary General of the Nepalese Army.

General Malhotra retired after 40 years of distinguished military service in May 1981. He then went on to serve as the Indian Ambassador to Indonesia from 1981-1984 and was Governor of Punjab from December 1990 to August 1991.

“Equestrian society in Asia has lost a truly great friend with the passing of General Malhotra,” said Ho Nai Yue, Chair of FEI Regional Group VIII.

“We really appreciate the impact General Malhotra has had on our equestrian community and the contribution he made over the years,” FEI President Ingmar de Vos said. “The sport has lost one of its greatest friends, enthusiasts and supporters. He will be sadly missed, but his reputation will live on for generations to come.”

General Malhotra is survived by his wife Saroj Malhotra and two children. His son, Ajai Malhotra, an Indian diplomat, has served as Ambassador of India to the Russian Federation, Kuwait, Romania and Moldova, and is a former Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations in New York.

A service was held for General Malhotra at Chinmayananda Mission, New Delhi on 1 January 2016.

The FEI expresses its sincere condolences to General Malhotra’s family, the Indian Equestrian Federation, the Asian Equestrian Federation, as well as his many friends in the equestrian community.

FEI Media contacts:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

In Memoriam: Pan-Am Games Silver Medallist Andres Rodriguez (VEN), 1984-2016

Andres Rodriguez (VEN), who was tragically killed in a car crash on 4 January 2016. (FEI/Cealy Tetley)

Lausanne (SUI), 5 January 2016 – Venezuelan Jumping athlete Andres Rodriguez, individual silver medallist at the 2015 Pan-American Games, has died in hospital of injuries sustained in a car crash in Wellington, Florida (USA) on 4 January. He was 31.

A passenger in the car, Sophie Walker (30), died at the scene of the crash. Ms Walker was a talented amateur rider on the US national circuit.

Andres Rodriguez’s career highlight came at the 2015 Pan-American Games in Toronto (CAN) when he rode Darlon Van Groenhove to individual silver. He twice represented Venezuela at world championship level, at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2010 in Lexington, Kentucky (USA) and the 2014 Games in Normandy (FRA).

His first major success came in 1996 when he won the FEI Children’s Jumping Final. He went on to claim team gold and individual silver at the 2013 Bolivarian Games in Lima (PER), team gold at the 2010 Central American & Caribbean Games in Mayaguez (PUR), and individual gold at the South American Games in Medellin (COL) the same year.

The talented Jumping athlete was bidding to make his Olympic debut at Rio 2016, and was also hoping to make his first appearance at the CHIO in Aachen (GER) this year. He had already realised his goal of a place in the world top 50, and was in 41st on the Longines Rankings.

Born in Venezuela, he moved to Europe after graduating from high school to train with Nelson and Rodrigo Pessoa. More recently, he was based in Paris (FRA) for the summer season and in Florida (USA) for the winter, where he was trained by Irish Jumping legend Eddie Macken. He married his long-term partner Clementine Goutal last month.

“To lose two young athletes in this dreadful way is a terrible shock and our hearts go out to their families and friends,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said. “Andres Rodriguez was a world-class athlete and clearly a super star in the making. For his life to be cut short in this way is absolutely heart-breaking.”

“The sport has tragically lost one of its greatest ambassadors with the passing of Andres Rodriguez, and I have lost a dear friend, as indeed have many others,” FEI Jumping Director John Roche said. “Andres was a wonderful horseman and an amazing person with a very positive approach to life. He had a heart as big as Mount Everest. He will be greatly missed by us all.”

The FEI extends its sincere condolences to the family and many friends of Andres Rodriguez, to the Venezuelan Equestrian Federation and the global Jumping community.

FEI Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

In Memoriam: Swiss Olympian Max Hauri, 1941-2015

Lausanne (SUI), 10 December 2015 – Swiss Olympian Max Hauri, who competed at the Games in Tokyo 1964 and Munich 1972, has passed away at his home in Seon (SUI), following a recent fall. He was 74.

On his first Olympic outing in Tokyo he finished 10th individually with Millview, just one fault behind Italy’s multiple Olympic medal winner Piero d’Inzeo. In Munich eight years later, he rode Haiti on the Swiss Jumping team that finished fifth, and was a member of the sixth-placed Eventing team with Red Baron.

Swiss Jumping champion from 1960, he competed on more than 50 FEI Nations Cup™ teams for Switzerland. But he was far more than just a top athlete; he was also a highly respected trainer and was brilliant at talent-spotting horses that could make their mark at the highest level of the sport.

Max Hauri built his father’s cattle and horse trading operation up to become one of the leading competition and trade stables. His two sons Markus and Thomas, both international riders in their own right, took over running this successful business following their father’s injury in a riding accident two years ago.

Max Hauri discovered countless top horses on his regular buying trips to Ireland, including two of Rodrigo Pessoa’s top rides, Special Envoy and Tomboy, and Vivaldi, the horse that Nelson Pessoa rode on the Brazilian team at the first FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Stockholm (SWE).

He also found the wonderful little chestnut mare Jessica for his sister, Heidi Robbiani. The pair went on to take individual bronze at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, where the Swiss team finished fifth.

Max Hauri also took numerous Irish riders under his wing, including Peter Leonard, Eddie Moloney, Noel Barry, Padraig McCarthy among many.

He also had a military career and was a captain in the Swiss cavalry squadron. On 5 December 1972 the Swiss National Council approved the controversial abolition of the cavalry regiment. Max Hauri, long-time commander of the squadron, initiated a commemoration which continues today at civilian and military events.

“Max was a Swiss Olympian, an officer and a gentleman, a horseman through and through who competed at the highest level throughout his life,” FEI Director of Jumping John Roche said. “He had an incredible eye for a horse which he demonstrated time and time again by the amazing horses that passed through his hands, such as Jessica, Special Envoy, Tomboy and Vivaldi. His presence will be greatly missed by us all.”

The FEI expresses its sincere condolences to Max Hauri’s family, many friends, the Swiss National Federation and the global Jumping and Eventing community.

FEI Media contacts:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145