Mike Tucker, legendary eventer, course designer, technical delegate, and commentator passed away today at the age of 73. For over 40 years Tucker was the equestrian commentator for the BBC and his voice is synonymous with eventing at events around the world.
Tucker got his start in eventing as a member of his local Pony Club alongside Capt. Mark Phillips and under Colonel Frank Weldon. He first rode at Badminton when he was just 19 years old – an event he called his “local gymkhana.” Tucker said he was inspired to go further in the sport after grooming for Richard Meade at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. He would go on to compete at Badminton a total of 12 times including finishing second in 1983 on his homebred General Bugle, was a member of several European championship teams, and was traveling reserve for the 1976 Olympics.
Following his competition career Tucker organized a horse trial at his Church Farm in England for 17 years, which is what he said inspired him to start course designing. He would go on to design two European Championships, the 2002 World Equestrian Games, Burghley, Bromont, and all over the world. A major portion of his course design career was in the U.S. and Tucker was the original course designer at Fair Hill – ultimately designing the course for 10 years.
Tucker was also a technical delegate at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and at events in New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and the U.S.
For over a decade Tucker was very involved in the safety aspect of the sport, chairing the British Eventing Safety Committee as well as serving on the FEI Safety Committee.
Tucker met his wife, Angela, in 1981 when they were both competing at the 1981 European Championships at Burghley. Angela would go on to become a top FEI judge and the two were married for over 35 years.
“The sport has been very generous to both Angela and myself,” Tucker said in a 2011 interview. “We have huge friends and so many happy memories.”
The USEA sends our condolences to Angela and all of Mike’s friends, family, and connections. His contributions to the sport will definitely leave a lasting legacy.
In 2000 and with the support of Joan Iversen Goswell, the Worth the Trust Scholarships were established to provide financial assistance to amateurs to pursue their education in eventing. The funds from the Worth the Trust Educational Scholarship may be used for training opportunities such as clinics, working student positions, and private or group instruction, or to learn from an official, course designer, technical delegate, judge, veterinarian, or organizer.
The spring eventing season in the Midwest is always a toss-up due to unpredictable weather. Will it rain, will it be sunny, or will it be a snowstorm? No one knows! Mid-America Combined Training Association’s (MACTA) first cross-country schooling of the season was cancelled in March due to extremely muddy footing conditions and by the time our April dates came around, COVID-19 was in full force and we were unable to host our cross-country schooling and schooling show.
The FEI has published its Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed at assisting organizers and national federations with the safe resumption of international equestrian events in line with national and local restrictions.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) has approved additional modifications to the qualification period for the 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. The AEC is scheduled to take place August 25-30, 2020 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, and the USEA is doing everything possible to ensure a safe and successful Championship, while also ensuring fair opportunities for all.