In memoriam: Barry Marshall

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Wed, 20 Jan 2021 15:15 GMT

It is with great sadness that British Dressage has learned of the passing of former international rider, List 1 and FEI judge Barry Marshall. Barry died on Thursday 14 January 2021, at the age of 69, following a seven month battle with liver cancer.

Barry Marshall and Diana Mason

From Sevenoaks in Kent where he lived with his wife Leonie, Barry (pictured at Goodwood with the late Diana Mason) is described by those who knew him as a truly inspirational man, renowned for his great sense of humour, integrity and a positive outlook on life. He was a highly regarded trainer, wrote many books on the topic, and in later life became a competitive carriage driver. Barry made a great contribution to the sport during the 1970s, 80s and 90s and his passing will be felt by many.

Born in Crayford, Kent, on 6 August 1951, Barry’s early interest in equestrian sport was born due to his association with his local Riding Club and he later took lessons at Bradbourne Riding and Training Centre. It was there that he met Leonie. They married in 1974 and remained so for 46 years.

Barry’s passion for dressage was inspired, not only by looking after Leonie’s dressage horses and travelling to shows, but also by seeing Robert Hall, a student of the Spanish Riding School, giving a display with the Lipizzaner Conversano Caprice at the White City in London. He soon became a ‘writer’ and learned his trade from top British and FEI judges.

When Leonie was expecting their daughter Liza, Barry took over the ride on her top horse, Othello. They became a formidable partnership in the 1970s and went on to compete in Rotterdam, Paris, Nice and the World Championships at Goodwood. “Barry was proud of the fact that he was the first British man to wear the Union Jack on his lapel,” says Leonie.

Barry later embarked on his own judging career, which he combined with his occupation as a university lecturer. This quickly took off, taking him to prestigious shows all over the world. He upgraded to List 1 in 1987 at the same time as Jennie Loriston-Clarke and Rosemary Herbert, and in 1994 he was promoted to full international status. He went on to judge at top level including FEI World Cup events.

He was also appointed Chef d’Equipe at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992.

“Barry was very well-respected for his integrity and truthfulness,” says Olympian, former BD Chairman and FEI Judge Jennie Loriston-Clarke. “And he was also a very nice man. He was competing Othello at the same time I was riding Kadett in the 1970s and he was always so supportive and so much fun.”

“He was a really big character with a great sense of humour,” added BD Judges Director and FEI 5* Judge Peter Storr. “He was always encouraging, always smiling, and had great integrity both as a man and a judge.”

In more recent times, Barry found an outlet for his love of equestrian competition in the form of carriage driving. The interest came from stepdaughter Sara, herself a world driver. Sara had given her mother a driving lesson at the age of 64. It had quickly become a bug and soon Barry became involved too.

Leonie and Barry Marshall

They acquired a single pony for Leonie and a pair for Barry who didn’t waste time quickly becoming an indoor champion! Barry also ‘backstepped’ for Leonie indoors and at outdoor trials, adding further successes to the couple’s tally.

The British Dressage Board and staff offer their sincerest condolences to Barry's wife Leonie, daughter Liza, stepdaughter Sara, and his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He will be greatly missed and warmly remembered by so many within the sport.

Following a private cremation, a ‘celebration day’ show and fundraiser will be held at Bradbourne in the summer to celebrate Barry’s life, date to be arranged. The family have requested no flowers please but donations, if desired, to a fundraiser in his memory for Hospice in the Weald - please follow this link for details.