Neil R. Ayer
Neil Ayer was the person most responsible for the success and popularity of American eventing over the 1970's and the 1980's. Neil was something of a legendary figure, larger than life, brimming with energy, enthusiasm and intensity. He was at home digging a ditch in old mud and creosote covered T-shirts as he was following hounds in the resplendent colors of the Myopia Hunt. Neil uniquely combined the style and manners of the Boston Brahmin with a most thoroughly democratic and un-class conscious attitude that shunned snobbery and pretension, and appreciated sincerity and merit. He was unfailingly courteous and gracious to everyone, and was greatly respected, not just for his many attainments, but because he always accorded respect to others.
The things that Neil did for eventing, though exceptional, are not so important as the way he did them, and the enthusiasm and shared belief and commitment that he inspired. Neil basically rescued the USCTA in 1971 and was president for eleven years. He ran the first major international three-day event in modern times in America at Ledyard in 1973.
Perhaps the most important part of Neil's extraordinary legacy to eventing was the example of his own life, his grace and quiet courage through years of illness, his zest and enthusiasm that transformed every job into an adventure, and his visionary leadership which is a continuing inspiration to all who follow him.
Back to Index