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Farewell to Robert Hall DBHS

15 Sept 2014


The British Horse Society was saddened to learn of the death of Robert Hall DBHS in the USA on Saturday 13 September 2014.

Born in Yorkshire to avid hunting parents, Robert joined the BHS in 1949. He completed Badminton in his 20s before becoming the British Olympic Eventing team's dressage trainer for Stockholm 1956, where the team took home gold, and again at Rome's 1960 Olympics. He then trained the British Olympic Dressage team for Tokyo 1964 and Mexico 1968.

Robert also founded Fulmer International, a collection of reputable equitation schools and a stud, and trained under Colonel Podhajsky at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.

In 1969, in recognition of his Olympic work, the BHS awarded him the Diploma of Honour.

Robert lived in South Carolina and is survived by his wife, Laura, three sons, and three grandsons.

Commenting on the passing of Robert, William Micklem FBHS said: "Robert was a powerful personality with the charisma and intellect that made him a natural leader. 

"However, being as principled, persistent and vocal in his beliefs was not a recipe for popularity in the wider equestrian world, although most of his staff and many students from around the world gave their heart and soul to the Fulmer cause.  

"His own equestrian skill was without a doubt the marriage of mind and body.  Over several years I never saw him get angry with a horse and I rarely saw a horse unhappy with him. 

"It should not be forgotten that the horse he trained, Conversano Caprice, ridden by his first wife Joke Hall, won the Hamburg dressage derby three times (when the top horses were ridden by the top riders, as in the current World Show Jumping Championship format). 

Dressage has moved on from those days, but he hated the athletic and sometimes rough and unnatural direction that dressage took. However, I like to think that the harmony, naturalness and ease shown by the dressage of Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin in the last few years has been confirmation of much of what he believed in. 

"His invention of the term 'allowing hand' lives on, and there are still coaches from around the world who had their minds opened by him and now in turn are doing the same with their students.

"The last phase of his life in Aitken, USA, with his exceptional wife Laura, their son Graeme, and numerous dogs brought him peace and a chance to write more chapters to 'the book.'  It will be worth reading."

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