Richard "Dick" Collins attended a military school in Southern California with a strong riding program. He first became enamored with the sport of eventing while spectating at the 1932 Olympic Games and returned to his home in Pebble Beach, California with the vision of launching his own three-day event, which he did with great success at the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center (PBEC). He took over management of PBEC in 1946 and held the position until 1979.
Collins had a profound and lasting influence on a group of young riders who grew up to compete at the upper levels of eventing on the West Coast and around the country. He formed the first United States Pony Club (USPC) on the West Coast in 1954, developed a summer day camp, and each month held a horse trials which were popular with the local youth.
"Children were his real life. All young people were," explained his wife Sheila. "If you look at those young people, many stayed with horses." The summer camps and horse trials became the seeding ground for many future talents. Several of the working students that passed through Pebble Beach eventually went on to become key competitors, trainers, course designers, and organizers in the western states and beyond, among them International Equestrian Federation (FEI) course designers Pete Costello and Derek di Grazia and Olympians Kevin Freeman, Eric Horgan, and Michael Page.
While Collins never rode on an international team, he served as manager of the United States Equestrian Team's (USET) three-day eventing team at the 1955 Pan American Games in Chicago and traveled with the team's horses to the 1960 Rome Olympics.
Collins retired as manager of PBEC in 1979 and passed away five years later. The sport of eventing, on both coasts, owes a debt of gratitude to this true eventing patriot.