Despite having no family background in equestrianism, Ian Stark became one of the sport’s leading stars and arguably Scotland’s greatest eventer.
Born in Galashiels in 1954, he began riding horses at the age of 10, and entered his first horse trials at Sunderland Hall at 18.
After 10 years working for the DHSS, he left to pursue a full-time career in the saddle, earning a place in the 1984 Olympic team with 3rdand 6thfinishes at the Badminton horse trials. In Los Angeles he won the first of four Olympic medals, collecting silver as part of the Great Britain team that finished second in the three-day event.
Four years later, in Seoul, he won a further two silver medals, in show jumping and the three-day event. And in his fifth and final Olympics in Sydney in 2000, he picked up another silver in the team show jumping event.
Outside of his Olympic achievements, Ian won an array of medals, taking gold as part of the British team that won the World Championships in 1986, on Oxford Blue. He also enjoyed prolific success at the European Championships, most notably in 1991 when he rode off with team and individual gold.
Stark retired after competing in the 2007 Kentucky Three-Day Event. He went on to have tremendous success as a coach, with the British Horse Society awarding him an Honorary Fellowship, in recognition of his coaching contributions.
He was awarded an MBE for his services to equestrianism in 1989 and was honoured again with an OBE in 2000.
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