Denise Aylmer-Aylmore, the respected and passionate horsewoman, trainer and judge died on 11 August, aged 98.
Born in Richmond-upon-Thames on 13 August 1924, Ms Aylmer-Aylmore came from a non-equestrian family, but was drawn to horses from a young age.
She attended Stonar School in Wiltshire and during World War II helped run the school’s stables. After she left school, she worked on a farm in Devon, then went on to work at the Melton Mowbray remount depot, looking after the horses and mules who had served in the war.
Later, Ms Aylmer-Aylmore worked for Enid Williamson of the Dartmoor Pony Society, the late Ponies of Britain founder Glenda Spooner, then British Horse Society fellow Marie Stokes at her riding school in Tadworth, Surrey. She gained her teaching qualifications and in the 1960s moved to Hertfordshire to run a riding pony stud, Pipers Stud. When the stud was sold and turned into a livery yard, she remained as yard manager.
She was a much-respected judge in dressage and showing. She judged on a number of panels including Ponies UK, the Arab Horse Society and the National Pony Society. She was also a successful competitor and showed her former racehorse, Crystal Bee, in riding horse classes, as well as riding Dartmoors.
Ms Aylmer-Aylmore was a much-loved Pony Club instructor and examiner, and was adored by the children she taught.
“She had a knack with children, horses and dogs,” said Gill Faraday, her friend of 45 years.
“She always made it fun for the children, but they learnt a lot and never realised they were learning. When judging, she was always good at giving helpful, constructive comments and she would never forget a horse, even years later.”
In later life, Ms Aylmer-Aylmore retired to a flat in St Albans, Hertfordshire, but remained judging and teaching until she was unable to drive any more. She later moved into a residential home. She last rode, aged 94, when she visited Gill and sat on Gill’s daughter Jessica’s young Connemara pony.
Ms Aylmer-Aylmore had no family, but will be missed by her many friends and her godchildren David and Jessica.
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