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‘A wonderful girl and sensible horsewoman’: farewell to former eventer and proprietor


  • The occasion rider and proprietor Shirley Thorp (née Clifford) died on 25 October, aged 89.

    Born in September 1933, Mrs Thorp spent her early childhood in Ickenham, then Middlesex. She developed a life-long love of horses from an early age. When she and her sister had whooping cough and had been confined to the home one summer time, they had been rewarded for his or her endurance with a pony named Dimple.

    The household later moved to Broomhills, Fleet, and she or he joined the Fleet sub-branch of the Garth Pony Membership, having fun with searching and gymkhanas. She left faculty to take up horses and in 1952 undertook a horsemanship course at Porlock Vale Using Faculty, below the tutelage of Tony Collings, and handed her instructing exams. In 1958 she grew to become chief teacher on the Workers School Pony Membership.

    Having had dressage coaching from Robert Corridor on the Fulmer Faculty of Equitation in Buckinghamshire, she took up eventing and pointing. She retrained former point-to-pointer Second Son and in 1953 they gained their first horse trials at Nice Auclum, in Berkshire. In 1955 the pair competed on the European Championships at Windsor. She accomplished Badminton Horse Trials twice, in 1957 when she was 18th on Dispatch, and in 1967 when she was fourth with Mazaretta. She was additionally third at Little Badminton in 1961 with Dispatch.

    In 1970 she married Gael Thorp and moved to Herefordshire. The couple had two youngsters, Sam and James, who loved competing with the Pony Membership. Following the couple’s divorce within the early Eighties, Mrs Thorp moved to Stroud and she or he owned various racehorses and occasion horses, together with Daybreak Patrol, who accomplished Badminton with Erica Watson in 2000. She additionally owned a share in Trendy Jazz, who competed at Boekelo with Erica in 2006.

    “Shirley needed me to trip Daybreak Patrol and she or he wouldn’t take no as a solution and he turned up on the yard,” mentioned Erica.

    “She all the time got here to occasions and was an excellent proprietor for me for round 15 years. She was a superb girl, a superb horsewoman and fiercely impartial. She made her mark within the horse world and her loss of life is a tragic loss for all of us.”
    Mrs Thorp is survived by her sons Sam and James.

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