The Tim Stockdale Foundation
One of the best-known faces in British show jumping, Tim Stockdale first rode for Great Britain in 1988. During his long tenure at the top he represented his country on over 50 occasions in the Nations’ Cup teams, including the 2002 World Equestrian Games, the 2008 Olympic Games in China and the 2009 European Championships. In early 2010, Tim also served as Chef d’Equipe for the victorious Great Britain team in the Nations’ Cup contest in Abu Dhabi.
Tim started his journey to international show jumping stardom at the age of 11, when he joined Nottinghamshire’s Grove Pony Club. On leaving school, he went straight to work at Mike Saywell’s yard in Retford, and soon after seized the opportunity to become second jockey to acclaimed show jumper Graham Fletcher. Tim gained further valuable experience by working with, and training under, John Taylor before his first major competitive breakthrough in 1988, when he won a major class at the Royal Windsor Horse Show riding Supermarket. In 1990 he started out on his own with just six horses.
As his success mounted, horses trained and ridden by Tim became world-class show jumpers. Riding The Frog, Mighty McGuigan, Santa’s Echo, Interview, Parcival, Glenwood Springs, Wiston Bridget, Cloudy Night, Corlato, Samoens, K2, The Toymaker and Fleur D’Aube, Tim’s competition record would span several decades of top-level performance.
However, Tim was not just concerned with his own show jumping success but worked incredibly hard to raise the profile of the sport as a whole. As well as orchestrating significant media appearances, Tim was the subject of the Channel Four programmes Cutting Edge and Faking It. He appeared as a trainer in the BBC programme Only Fools On Horses, teaching celebrities to ride and show jump in just one month; a programme which raised a total of £250,000 for Sport Relief. (There was one challenge Tim did not rise to however. Despite an appearance on Can’t Cook Won’t Cook, his’s culinary skills remained resolutely unimproved!)
Elsewhere, Tim regularly delivered lecture-demonstrations, private tuition and after-dinner speeches on the subject of sportsmanship and show jumping, publishing books and DVDs to help show jumping enthusiasts worldwide. In 2006, he was awarded an Honorary Degree by Nottingham Trent University for services to equestrianism. He was Chairman of the BSJA Marketing Committee from 2004 to 2007, a role he stepped down from to concentrate on his Olympic ambition for 2008. At the Beijing Olympic Games he narrowly missed out on a medal by finishing fourth in the team event. In recognition of his Outstanding Services to Equestrian Sport, Tim was presented with the British Equestrian Federation’s Medal of Honour at the British Open Show Jumping Championships in April 2010.
Very little slowed Tim down. After breaking his neck in three places during a fall in training in 2011, Tim’s motto “There’s no such word as can’t!” came to the fore. He made a full recovery to compete at top level again worldwide. Tim died aged just 54 in November 2018, a month after being diagnosed with stomach cancer.
Tim’s wife, Laura says, “When Tim passed away our family were overwhelmed with letters and cards from hundreds of people that we had never met. They told us stories of the times they had met Tim and how he had made a difference to them; how he’d inspired them or encouraged them to do something. There were suggestions of how we should try to remember Tim, with ideas for a charity that would carry on his work.”
Tim loved all sport, not just show jumping but all kind of equestrianism, as well as cricket and golf. He would have loved to be able to encourage any young people to take up the sports they love and provide them with the support they need to succeed. The basis of the Tim Stockdale Foundation is to provide help and assistance to young people in the three sports closest to Tim’s heart, whether it be supporting individual sportsmen and women, or assisting the youth competition structure.
In 2019 the Tim Stockdale Foundation have been concentrating on raising funds and have so far provided a set of show jumps for the RDA, as well as specialist care for a young cricketer with cancer. We are honoured to have the Foundation at Olympia, The London International Horse Show this year as our official charity, and hope to help raise funds to enable the continuation of their remarkable work.