It was sad to recently to record the death of John Marsh, highly regarded by those who knew him as an excellent judge of a horse and somebody with great integrity.
John was born on the family farm in Netherton, Yorkshire; his father kept, bred and worked Clydesdales and this was when John first got his love for horses.
In his early teens he went to work with Nev Helmsley who had very high-quality hunters and from whom John learnt a great deal. From there still in his teens, he went to work for the Ditchfield family; they had good show horses and John achieved much experience and knowledge working with them.
One of his happiest times which John often reminisced about, was with the Hon Janet Gibbs at Chetwold Priory in Buckinghamshire. Together John and Janet showed a string of horses in the summer and in the winter hunted six days a week. However Janet and her husband sadly divorced and the the horses and the property were sold. Before this, John worked for Mrs Sheila Noble, producing many successful Show Horse for the ring, notebly Ladies Hacks and Hunters.
John then returned to his family home in his beloved Yorkshire and went to the Hayley family, where they excelled with racing and point to pointers. John's favourite horse was 'The Red One' who had many wins. After this John decided to run his own stable and had great success with Beverly Hudson, Sue McKenzie, Alwyn Fradley and a young Kim Hardy among many others. John was indeed a very hard task master as he wanted to get the very best out of his pupils, as Kim Hardy and Alwyn Fradley would confirm and they loved him for it.
His successes include winning three years running, The Royal Show Ladies class with Limestone Kitty ridden, on those occasions ridden by Jane Cooper. The win with South Pacific, a Lightweight Hunter, at the Horse of the Year Show, giving 17 year old Kim Hardy a moment she will never forget.
John was also immensely proud of his success at the Great Yorkshire show, his favourite show of all, he won the Ladies Hunter class 10 times with six different horses and as many riders. It is now under suggestion that a trophy with Johns name, be presented for this class at the show which he revered so highly.
John had to give up riding due to rheumatoid arthritis which eventually confined him to a wheelchair, however one would see him at many shows by the ringside, watching the classes and the horses, of which he was such a good judge himself.
It is interesting that the BSHA Chairman, Mr lan Darcy, had his first taste of showing with victory on a Cob, which John had found.
One has the feeling that he will be watching the Great Yorkshire from wherever he is. RIP.
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