Today, the sad news was announced that an RDA great and Para dressage pioneer Jonquil Solt has passed away.
An inspiration figure for so many in her life, Jonquil had a long association with RDA, beginning in 1965 and remained actively involved in the organisation from then on. In 1980, she became Chair of the first ever RDA Dressage Committee, and then she took a team to Sweden for the first World Dressage Championship for the Disabled in 1987. The team went on to win two gold medals and one silver. The first World Championship to be held in England was in 1994, organised by Jonquil and supported by the RDA. The Championship was a great success.
Jonquil played a vital role in the development of para-dressage and was wholly dedicated to opening the world of competition to our riders. RDA Chair, Rachel Medill, reflects on Jonquils legacy in RDA and para dressage.
“It is very sad to hear about the passing of Jonquil Solt. Jonquil was one of the driving forces in enabling disabled riders to compete on the world stage and in doing so raised the profile of para dressage globally. She played an instrumental role in opening the world of competition to our riders at RDA, creation of our National Championships and enabling the progression of several of our riders to compete at the Paralympics. Her legacy is profound. RDA and the whole equestrian community will miss her”
Following her time as Chair of the RDA Dressage Committee, she went on to play an instrumental role in raising the profile of Para dressage globally and the inclusion of Para dressage becoming a Paralympic sport. Ro Pudden, who coached the Great Britain team at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics, spoke fondly of Jonquil. “She got Para-dressage off of the ground, and it is thanks to her that we were able to compete internationally at the Paralympics.”
Liz Stone PLY, who competed in Para dressage at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics said this about Jonquil’s passing. “It was very sad to hear of the passing of Jonquil Solt, an incredibly kind, generous and determined lady who did so much for the sport of Para dressage. I feel privileged to have known her and, along with so many others, will be forever grateful for her dedication to enabling disabled riders from around the globe to compete together on the world stage”.
Jonquil’s funeral will be held on Wednesday 29 June in St. James’s, Old Milverton, United Kingdom. The service will be live streamed for those who would like to join but are unable to attend in person.