Two-time Swiss Olympian Max Hauri has died at his home in Seon, Switzerland, following a recent fall. He was 74.
On his first Olympic outing in Tokyo in 1964 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.
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.
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 whomNelson Pessoa rode on the Brazilian team at the first FEI World Equestrian Games in Stockholm.
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.
Hauri also took numerous Irish riders under his wing, including Peter Leonard, Eddie Moloney, Noel Barry, Padraig McCarthy among many.
In recently years he also owned some of Pius Schwizer’s top horses, including Verdi III and Powerplay.
Hauri also had a military career and was a captain in the Swiss cavalry squadron. On December 5, 1972, the Swiss National Council approved the controversial abolition of the cavalry regiment. 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.”