In Memoriam French rider Hubert Bourdy

25 June - He was one of them, one of the old “club”. Not so old, as he was just 57, but enough to have his place in the French book of show-jumping and recall the memories of all the top riders who had the pleasure to compete against or beside him. Double Olympic medallist and team jumping world champion, Hubert Bourdy left this world on the 25th June, because of a cancer who seems definitely to have beaten him.

Born in the town of Troyes, in north-eastern France, he began riding at the age of 11 and became a professional at 23. Since 1983, when he was first selected to be part of the French jumping team, and for the next twenty years, he continued to score series of victories, within Mediterranean Games, national and European Championships. On Morgat, he gained the team bronze medal at 1988 Seoul Olympic Games with Michel Robert, Frédéric Cottier and Pierre Durand, and repeated the same result in 1992, in Barcelona, when, riding Razzia du Poncel, he took again the bronze along with Hervé Godignon, Michel Robert and Eric Navet. In 1989 he settled in Marlieux dans l’Ain, where he started his horse breeding and trading, with many crack world-renowned.

Individual bronze arrived with Morgat in 1990, at the inaugural FEI World Equestrian Games, which were staged in Stockholm, after having already obtained the team title together with his companions Eric Navet, Roger-Yves Bost, and Pierre Durand. With Ève des Étisses he then qualified in two World Cup Finals, in Milan 2004 and in Las Vegas 2005, and with his team he won the 2004 Nations Cup’s circuit, at that time called Super League.

Active until 2009, performing in international competitions with great horses such as Toulon, Centino and Tenson, Bourdy retired from sport and devoted himself to his horse dealing business, which became one of the largest in Europe. Always present at any calendar’s top events, he was never missing a beat, and he was recently seen at the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Finals in Lyon in April and at CSI4* Bourg en Bresse just three weeks ago. Aware of his illness, he did not care about it, but just tried to go on until the very last moment. In the year of the World Equestrian Games for the first time to be held in France, the Ornano Stadium, which will host the show jumping competitions, held yesterday a minute’s silence during the test event. Bourdy’s friends are going to miss him: “I’m sad and I will remember him forever – said Bosty – he achieved a lot, maybe was sometimes extreme, but he was always looking straight ahead”. “I grow up in my career with him from the very beginning – added Michel Robert – he has been first a teammate to me. I must say he saw things very differently for that time, he had an accuracy unknown among other riders in those years. I’ve always looked up to him”. Difficult to collect all the voices and words pronounced in this sad day to greet him or just to record their “personal moment” with Hubert Bourdy. What is common to them is the memory of his spirit. Beloved first as a man, for his charisma and sense of humour, then as a master in equestrianism: two aspects, which were connected by a strong love for life and that, in this man called Hubert Bourdy, were so well combined.

Barbara Leoni