There is no need to resort to hyperbole when describing Pat Koechlin- Smythe, who died on Tuesday at the age of 67, as the greatest female show jumper.
Until the 1950s, which were the vintage years for British show jumping, the international scene had been dominated by army officers. Smythe, who had no wealthy relatives to back her, succeeded on horses that failed to perform for other riders.
In 1956, when women were first allowed an Olympic place in show jumping, Smythe rode Flanagan as part of the British team that won the bronze medal. By then she was a household name and an inspiration to a whole generation of younger riders, including David Broome who based his style on Smythe's.
In 1963 Smythe gained a record fourth victory in the European Ladies Championships. But she will be best remembered for her successes in open competition, with a string of Grand Prix victories in various European cities.
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