Jane Goldsmith, a member of the FEI Para-Equestrian Committee and one of the pioneers of Para-Dressage in Great Britain, passed away peacefully on 2 June after a long illness. Jane was born into a non-horsey family, but during her school years, she worked at a local riding school at weekends and in the evenings in return for being taught to ride. She would borrow the butcher’s delivery cart pony and go show jumping at weekends. On leaving school, she entered the horse industry as a trainee groom, which allowed her to continue her competition training. She had great success in her competitive and training careers in Dressage, Jumping, Eventing and Racing.
During her Jumping career, she won the All-England Championship, and was runner-up to Harvey Smith as Show Jumper of the Year. In Dressage she competed and trained to Prix St Georg standard and above and became a British Dressage List 1 Judge.
She was a successful event rider and trainer, and was widely acknowledged as a brilliant producer of Young Riders to international status. As an FEI Judge and Technical Delegate, she officiated at some of the world’s highest level events, including Badminton and Kentucky.
A Fellow of the British Horse Society, Mrs Goldsmith was involved in education and also published two books, Coaching the Rider and Teaching Jumping. She also gave herself tirelessly to the sport of Para-Dressage, coaching some of the world’s best riders, including Lee Pearson. She was coach of arguably Britain’s most successful Paralympics team since the year 2000, and founded the Para Dressage Training Trust, a charity which trains young riders and provides horses for those who cannot afford international competition standard horses.
As well as her role as a member of the FEI Para-Equestrian Committee, she was also a five-star Para-Dressage judge, and taught all over the world in training schemes for FEI Development, the International Paralympic Equestrian Committee and the Christopher Reeve Spinal Cord and Paralysis Foundation. Last year, she was presented with the Queen's Award for Equestrianism for her outstanding service to the sport and was due to be a member of the Appeal Committee at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
“Jane was so well loved by so many and her passing will leave a huge hole in the Para Dressage world,” Ulf Wilken, Chair of the FEI Para-Equestrian Committee said. “She has worked tirelessly for Para-Dressage over the years, and her huge support, drive and initiative have helped to take the discipline to where it is today. This is a tremendous loss to the horse world and to her family and many friends.”
British Dressage Chief Executive Amanda Bond commented: "Jane's contribution to our sport, both in Great Britain and throughout the world, has been phenomenal. As one of the pioneers of Para Dressage sport, we owe her a huge debt of gratitude for her dedication. She will be fondly remembered by so many for her wisdom, her generosity and her strength of character. We have lost a great coach and a dear friend."
The FEI expresses its sincere condolences to Jane Goldsmith’s husband John, her sons Martin and Paul, and her many friends in the equestrian world. The funeral will be held at Gaydon Parish Church on Monday 11 June at 11.00, and the family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Para Dressage Training Trust, c/o R. Locke and Son, Kineton, Warwickshire, UK.