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Farewell to Lesley McNaught (1964-2023)

Tuesday, 26 December 2023
In memoriam

Photo © Hippo Foto/Dirk Caremans Lesley McNaught competing in Aachen in 2000 with Dulf. Photo © Hippo Foto/Dirk Caremans.

The Swiss Equestrian Federation has today announced that Lesley McNaught has passed away at the age of 59. Considered one of the best female showjumpers of her time, McNaught was very successful through the 1990s and at the beginning of the 2000s. Aboard Dulf Z, McNaught won team silver at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000, as well as team silver and individual bronze at the European Championship at Hickstead in 1999. In 1995, McNaught was also part of the team that won gold at the European Championship in St. Gallen – riding Doenhoff. With Pirol, she won team gold at the European Championship in Gijon in 1993 and team bronze at the World Equestrian Games in Den Haag in 1994. For the last three years, McNaught has been passing on her expertise as the jumping coach for the Swiss eventing elite riders. 

In a press release, Swiss Equestrian wrote: 

“It is with deep sadness that Swiss Equestrian announces the passing of Lesley McNaugth. A true legend of show jumping, the Swiss rider has achieved numerous successes all over the world.

Lesley McNaught was born on 10 February 1964 in Hinckley (GBR). She won silver with the Swiss team at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney with Dulf Z and was Swiss champion in show jumping in 1991 and 2005. She also represented the Swiss colours at three world championships (one team medal), four European championships (four medals, including two team gold medals) and seven world cup finals (two podiums). During her active career she was regarded as the best female rider of her generation.

Lesley McNaught has been the show jumping coach of the Swiss eventing team for three years. With her great expertise, she made a significant contribution to the recent successes of the Swiss eventing riders. These include, in particular, the team qualification for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

"It is a tremendous shock for the large equestrian family and for Swiss Equestrian. Lesley McNaught was an exceptional rider and a woman who put her heart and soul into her sport, the horses and the riders on the team. She leaves a big gap. We express our heartfelt condolences to her family and friends," declared the President of Swiss Equestrian, Damian Müller.

"We are deeply saddened. Lesley was not only a brilliant trainer for our riders and our horses, but also a wonderful person and friend and an important member of our eventing family," says Dominik Burger, Chef d'Equipe of the eventing elite.

In consideration of the grief of her family and friends, no further information will be communicated. Swiss Equestrian will communicate about the vacancy by the end of February 2024.”

At World of Showjumping, we pass on our heartfelt condolences to all those close to McNaught.

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