Richard Mark Picken, 53, lost a courageous battle with cancer on August 13, 2022, dying peacefully at home. Born in the UK, he emigrated to Kentucky in 2013 and became an instant fixture on the US Equestrian Federation’s eventing and show jumping circuits. A top coach and trainer, he traveled throughout the U.S. and overseas with his students to competitions. He enjoyed coaching young riders and training inexperienced horses as much as he thrived under the pressure of an international championship.
With his wife Joanie (Morris), he built a successful training business at Four Schools Farm in Paris, KY. The impact of his knowledge will remain very profound as he traveled around the country teaching clinics. The highlights of his coaching career included Phillip Dutton’s Bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games and Alexandra Baugh’s Individual Gold medal at the North American Young Riders Championships. But he loved the day-to-day of training of horses as much as the big stage. He befriended so many people along the way, and his kindness, profound understanding of horses, and sense of humor resonated with everyone he met around the world.
Along with his wife Joanie, he’s survived by his father David Picken (late mother Suzanne), sister Alexandra Tempest (Andy), aunt Joyce Mitchell (Ed), in-laws Beth, Steve, and Amy Morris, and his beloved dogs. In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to the USEA Foundation as a grant is being established in his name to educate the next generation of American equestrian athletes or the Rick Herrema Foundation which supports military families.
A celebration of his life will be held in Kentucky for friends and family in the autumn.
Are you interested in competing in the sport of eventing but aren’t quite sure how to get started? Do you have a horse that is looking for a new career? Consider participating in a USEA New Event Horse (NEH) competition in 2023! The USEA NEH Program was created to be an introduction to the sport of eventing for both horse and rider, and the 2023 NEH Calendar is now available here.
Will Coleman had a huge 2022 with his string of horses, including a team silver medal at the FEI World Eventing Championship in Italy on Off The Record and top four-star placings with Chin Tonic HS, but it was Dondante whose consistency paid off to earn the Standlee Premium Western Forage USEA Horse of the Year title.
Julie Murray has loved horses since she could breathe, so when her daughters showed an interest in Pony Club and then eventing, she was thrilled to go along for the ride.
Murray started volunteering at the Fallbrook Pony Club near her home in Fallbrook, California, serving as an intermediate district commissioner.
Please always remain vigilant when it comes to sending any personal communications via email or text. Every year we receive reports of members and leaders of our sport receiving phishing attempts both online and by phone. These are often communications disguised as being sent from USEA staff or other leaders. As the years go on, the phishing attempts appear to be more directed and tailored.