In memoriam: Brenda Humphreys, 1935-2023

  • Written By: British Dressage | William Humphreys
  • Published: Thu, 08 Jun 2023 12:41

It is with much sadness that British Dressage has learned of the passing of popular Worcestershire based List 5 dressage judge, Brenda Humphreys. Brenda had a lifelong passion and interest in horses, as a rider, breeder, competitor and, in the latter half of her life, as a dressage judge.

Born in Worcestershire, Brenda's parents subsequently moved to Wiltshire where she attended Stonar School, near Melksham, before becoming a working pupil with Colonel and Mrs Mary Gibson in the 1950s in Dorset.

Following her marriage to a Worcestershire based farmer, she continued to develop her interest in dressage, receiving additional instruction from Olympian Lorna Johnstone MBE in the 1960s. However, as the 1970s progressed, following the tragic death of one of her talented and much-loved horses ‘Tim’ and having by then become a mother, Brenda’s efforts focused more as a breeder.

Her own breeding stock, in part drawn from a granddaughter of the crossing of the bloodlines of Big Game and Sun Chariot, some years later found success in the form of ‘Oberon’, a horse that had been owned and further developed by Paul Ingram, as well as being ridden to success by para dressage multi-medallist, Anne Dunham OBE.

From the mid-1980s onwards, Brenda became a frequent and well-known judge of dressage at various horse trials, Riding Club and Pony Club events and as late as 2012, when 77-years of age, she had been booked to judge at approximately 120 competitions. During her long career, it is not unreasonable to extrapolate she may have judged 40,000 individual tests or more. She was a dignified and reserved country woman, with a natural charity and compassion for all things living, whose formal education in life had been hampered by a troubling illness in early childhood, impairing some elements of her hearing as time progressed. She leaves behind an only son, William.

The British Dressage Board and staff offer deepest condolences to Brenda’s son William, and her family and friends. She will be warmly remembered by so many within the Worcestershire area and beyond.