Alan Oliver (1932-2006) on Red Admiral
Alan Oliver, British show jumping rider and course designer, was born in Kimble Wick, Buckinghamshire on 8 September 1932 and died in Dunstable, Bedfordshire on 10 September 2006. His acrobatic style in the saddle made him easily recognisable. His best horse was probably Red Admiral, with whom he is much remembered for a duel with the German champion Fritz Thiedemann on Meteor in the 1954 King George V Gold Cup at White City. Time had not yet been introduced as the deciding factor in a jump-off, so the two riders completed five rounds in an atmosphere of mounting tension before Thiedemann prevailed on Meteor. According to David Broome Oliver was the friendliest rider of all. “There was never anything aloof about him; he was always prepared to speak to up-and-coming riders and give them encouragement.” – said Broome of him.
Oliver was a strong contender for an Olympic place in Helsinki 1952 and Stockholm 1956, but he was not selected on either occasion – maybe because of his lack of international experience. He had some other good horses like Pitz Palu and Sweep, who was his mount on winning Nations Cup teams at Barcelona in 1969 and London in 1972.
Alan Oliver was also an international course designer. A career he had started already before he retired from competition. Among many others, he designed courses for the World Cup final in Gothenburg, shows in Toronto and New York, Sydney and Melbourne plus most of the county shows in Britain.
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