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Pat Smythe (Mrs. Sam Koechlin) (1928 - 1996)

Pat Smythe was born in 1928 near London and began riding at the age of three. When she was ten years old, she won her first major prize for show jumping. During the 1950s, she and Col. Harry Llewellyn, who died in 1999 - aged 88, were to raise British show jumping from mediocrity to international acclaim. With Prince Hal, Flanagan and Tosca, Pat Smythe won almost every show jumping cup, prize and title in Britain and America. In 1956 (Stockholm) she was one of the bronze medal-winning British Olympic team, and in 1960 rode in the Olympic (Rome) Individual and Team events.

Pat Smythe - Family Pat Smythe's Life & Family

Prince Hal was one of the leading indoor jumpers in the world in the 1950s. He was out of a mare by My Prince and he won the Daily Mail Cup at the Royal International Horse Show in London.

He also set the Ladies European High jump record at 7' 4 1/2" and he was a member of winning Prix de Nations teams for Great Britain, winning classes throughout Europe and North America.

"A Woman in a Man's World"

Equestrian events were first included in the second Olympic Games (Paris) in 1900. Women were excluded. In fact, up until World War II, Olympic equestrian events had been limited (almost exclusively) to cavalry officers on active duty. However, an increasing number of civilians participated in the 1948 Olympics - but women were still prohibited. The male establishment offered many excuses for its ban of women, citing that they were "too weak" to ride the longer Grand Prix jumping courses of the Olympics.

Soon after World War II, however, women began to compete (with acclaimed success) in major national equestrian events for the first time. Finality was Pat Smythe's first successful jumper and together they did so well at the London International Horse Show that they earned a place on the British Show Jumping team in 1947. Yet it wasn't until the middle of the 1950s that women were able to make a lasting impression on Olympic jumping competitions. Pat Smythe - and Brigitte Schockaert of Belgium - became pioneers, the first two women to ride in Olympic show jumping - at the 1956 (Stockholm) Games. In that same year, Pat Smythe was awarded an O.B.E. She was the most successful female show jumper in the world, winning more grand prix events than any other rider. In the modern era, at the British Grand Prix, the Pat Smythe Memorial Trophy is awarded to the winner.

Pat Smythe - the writer

During her lifetime, she wrote a number of successful equestrian and autobiographical books as well as many children's books. Her story was published in 1954 in her book, "Jump for Joy". At the turn of this century, her former home, Sudgrove House, at Miserden, Gloucestershire, went up for sale. The asking price was around 2.9 million. She bought the property - an eight-bedroom house overlooking gardens, woodland and pasture, with views of Througham Valley, in 1962. After her marriage to Sam Koechlin, she lived in Switzerland. She died as a result of heart disease in 1996, aged 67.

'With a style of writing that vividly laid open the emotions and trauma of a life with horses and show jumping, she shared with her readers the moments of glory and invited them to shed tears with her during the tragedies and disappointments. Owing to her strength of character, any bitterness was short lived as she focused on what the future could bring. Better than anybody, she portrayed a lifestyle of enduring effort, with the sweet promise of moments of golden immortality...'

Equestrian and Biographical
Jump for Joy 1954
Book of Horses 1955
One Jump Ahead 1956
Tosca and Lucia 1958
Horses and Palaces 1959
Jumping Round the World 1962
Flanagan My Friend 1963
Bred To Jump 1965
Pat Smythe's Book of Horses
Show Jumping
A Pony for Pleasure
Pony Problems
Leaping Life's Fences
 
Books for Children
Jacqueline Rides for a Fall 1957
Three Jays on Holiday 1958
Three Jays Against The Clock 1958
Three Jays Go to Town 1959
Three Jays Go to Rome 1960
Three Jays Over the Border 1960
Three Jays Lend A Hand 1961
A Spanish Adventure 1972
Pat Smythe - Family Pat Smythe's Life & Family