The eventing community mourns one of its own this weekend as Judy Thayer, 58, Fair Hill International’s treasurer and horse trials chairman, died Friday morning following a brief battle with cancer. As a former chairman of Area II, Judy helped organize Fair Hill from the very early days of the event and faithfully served the competitors for more than 25 years.
A dedicated horsewoman for her entire life, Judy was an avid Pony Clubber in her younger years and a passionate supporter and competitor in the sport of eventing. She also coached Pony Clubbers in the Eastern Pennsylvania Region for many years, seeing many of her students through to Nationals.
She is survived by her husband of 32 years, Edward Thayer. Services will be private; the family has requested that anyone wishing to make donations in Judy’s memory do so to benefit Fair Hill International, 378 Fair Hill Drive, Elkton, MD 21921. Click here to view Judy’s full obituary.
Many touching tributes to Judy have been posted since Fair Hill announced this sad news via Facebook on Friday morning. Here’s a sampling of how Judy’s legacy and memory will live on in the eventing community. Please share your own memories of Judy in the comments.
Allie Blyskal-Sacksen: “Judy has coached me through the Pony Club levels since I was 10 at my first nationals. She was always cheering me on through the levels as I did my first CIC*** at fair hill. Thank you, Judy; you were an amazing, hardworking, kind woman. May you rest in peace.”
Jennifer Facciolo: “Judy was simply an all-around great person. She loved the sport, loved the horses and loved the people. I loved her sense of humor and the way she went out of her way to help someone out — rider, volunteer or even the lost spectator. I also loved how she’d always save me a turkey sandwich.”
Holly Covey: “Judy was an amazing, wonderful spirit, and I can hardly believe she is not going to be here, not going to be riding at Fair Hill at the cross-country schooling, saying hi as she drove by in her old truck, or telling me how to fix a jump or put up the decorations. Judy will be deeply missed; she was the SOUL of the cross-country course at the International.”
Holly Osborne: “What WASN’T Judy to FHI? She was such an amazing, hardworking woman that held a deep passion for this sport. She was always there to answer questions and help out. I will always be grateful that I got my start in eventing at Fair Hill and that Judy was there helping me out whenever she was able. Judy will be sorely missed by everyone surrounding that Fair Hill eventing community. Rest easy, Judy. No one will ever be able to fill her shoes, and Fair Hill will never feel quite the same.”
Liz VanderBurg Morgan: “Judy was always able to be positive even when giving a critique. She was such a wonderful teacher and was able to see things that would be invisible to others. She was one of a kind and will be sorely missed. She rode as beautifully as she taught.”
Julie Pifer: “Judy was an amazing woman. She was my coach at nationals multiple times, and my mother and I grew to know her very well. She always went out of her way to say a kind word or lend advice whenever I saw her. I am shocked by this news. I wish I had said thank you to her more often for all she does. May she rest in peace.”