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Chapter 4

The Olympic Games and Comet Disaster

It was a very gratifying moment for Captain Collings when the letter arrived, in 1950, asking him if he would be prepared to take on the training of the Equestrian Three-day Event team,at Porlock in preparation for the 1952 Olympic games, which were to be held in Helsinki. There was no doubt, from the onset, that the answer to the question would be yes. Tony set about this task with enthusiastm and thoroughness, achieving a very good result at Helsinki.

The decision was made that the Olympic horses would be stabled at The Vale Yard, under the expert supervision of Mr Jim Ffitch, an ex-champion show jumper.

Horses on the beach at Porlock - Requested by National Press

January 1952 Various team possibles arrived at Porlock and were houses at Porlockford. The final team arrived for seven months of concentrated training. The seven riders who gathered at Porlock were, four soldiers; Major John Miller, Major Lawrence Rook, Capt. Michael Naylor-Leyland, Lt. Angus McCance. One sailor, Lt-Commander John Oram, and two civilians, Mr J. R (Reg) Hindley and Mr A. E. (Bertie) Hill. The horses accompanying these riders were: - Stella, owner by Major John Miller; Bambridge Boy, owned by The Royal Marines; Miss Yvonne Stedman's home-bred mare, Savoyarde; Starlight XV, owned by Mrs R J. Baker; Speculation, owned by Mr J. R. Hindley; Mrs John Oram's Phillippa, and Miss Anne Holland's Tudor Gal.

(C) Jacqueline Peck 2000

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