Long Itchington man left a ‘huge legacy’ in showjumping

Copy Images - Alan Ball NNL-160830-190619009
Copy Images - Alan Ball NNL-160830-190619009

Tributes have been paid to an international showjumping course designer who “left behind a huge legacy for the sport”.

Alan Ball, 84, of Long Itchington, died on Monday August 22 leaving his wife Patricia, daughter Tracey, son Mark and granddaughter Dale.

Copy Images - Alan Ball NNL-160830-190551009

Copy Images - Alan Ball NNL-160830-190551009

During his life he became senior head course designer for British Showjumping and worked in an officiating role for the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) overseeing rules and safety at the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988.

Assisting those wishing to pursue a career in course design was an area that Alan took great pride in and International course designer Bob Ellis, who designed the London 2012 course, paid tribute to Alan by saying “I consider myself extremely fortunate to have worked alongside Alan for 15 years.

“He played an instrumental role in my career, he was a brilliant course designer and a great man.

“I am deeply saddened to hear of his passing; he leaves behind a huge legacy for the sport”

Born in Lancashire in 1932, Alan left school to work in the family building business in Southport during which time he also helped with the team of heavy horses that his grandparents used within their haulage business.

The horses were shown at Liverpool Show and it was at one of these shows, where Alan used to help prepare the horses, that he met Bill Lucy who was a British Showjumping representative.

This chance meeting was set to change the course of Alan’s life as he was then introduced to John Gross and Jack Talbot-Ponsonby who built across the country at the time and it wasn’t long until Alan was spending his weekends assisting them.

This continued through the late 1950’s and 1960’s with him course-designing at the weekends as a hobby whilst still working within the family business.

But it was in 1972 that Alan made the life-chaging decision to accept the invitation to join British Showjumping in the senior role and he moved his young family to be near the organisations offices at Stoneleigh Park.

Alan left British Showjumping in the 1990s but cotinued to work independently across many of the major national and international events until he retired in his early 70s.

Alan’s funeral will take place at Oakley Wood Crematorium on Monday from 11.30am.