Tributes flow for event rider Ian Olding

May 9, 2009


Ian Olding and Gran-Kiki © British Eventing

Tributes poured in for event rider Ian Olding at a memorial service for the Irish event rider in Belfast yesterday.

Olding, 47, died in a fall on the cross-country at the Belton Park horse trials in Lincolnshire in England on April 25.

British Eventing has launched a full investigation into the accident and is liaising with the Health and Safety Executive, police and the organisers.

In a tribute on British Eventing's website, Olding's mother Jess, father Fred and brother Gary, thanked Ian's fellow riders and friends "for their kind words, tributes and cards sent in memory of Ian."

"We are all in deep shock and we are at a loss as to what to do without him. Ian will be very sadly missed by mum and dad, myself, my wife Lyn and his three nephews. Our only consolation was that he died doing something he loved," his brother Gary said.

For the last four years, Golding was based at Somerford Park Farm in Sandbach, Cheshire. Equestrian centre owner Debbie King says: "Ian will be sorely missed here - he was such a bright light. He was part of Somerford's 'fixtures and fittings.' He ran a really successful business here and had a yard of talented horses. He had so many faithful clients, not just here in Cheshire, but all over the country. Teaching was his passion and he has helped many riders achieve their dreams."

Several of Golding's horses have the Gran prefix and it all started with Sue Kirkpatrick's horse, Gran-Kiki, or 'Alfie', as he was known. Golding had ridden Gran-Kiki up to 3-Star International level during their six-year partnership, and completed Boekelo last October.

Sue says: "I first met Ian when he came to teach in the Isle of Man. People here are just devastated as he touched so many lives. He was such a character and always was the life and soul. I owned Alfie with him since he started at pre-novice, and I have enjoyed sharing the ups and downs of Ian taking him to Advanced. It was his dream to ride at 4* level and he and Alfie qualified for Badminton this year."

Chris Shaw, British Eventing Regional Director says: "Ian rode three horses for me during his time in this country. I became able to call him a friend and know him as someone who would always help others whenever and wherever he could.

"When arriving in Cheshire from Ireland, he very soon became a popular figure on the eventing scene. Over the years, his trademark humour and the fun he brought with him were well known. He was sure to lift any dampened spirits and he always had a word for everyone he met.

"He lived for horses. He lived for competition. He was respected for his ability to ride to a fence. We had some rare old times. I will remember him and miss him - as we all will."

His family specified family flowers only or donations to the Mark Davies Injured Riders Fund.

Another service will be held in Cheshire, where Golding had been based.