AUSTRALIA’S first female equestrian Olympian, Bridget “Bud” Hyem, a long-time Carroll district resident, has died aged 81.
Growing up in the small town of Kayuga, near Muswellbrook, Mrs Hyem, who died on Monday, was a successful showjumper who reached the pinnacle of the sport in Tokyo in 1964 when she became the first female equestrian to represent Australia at an Olympic games.
It took 20 more years for another Australian woman to make it to the Olympics in the equestrian event.
She also bred two of Australia’s most successful event horses, Olympic gold medallists Kibah Tic Toc and Kibah Sandstone.
The half-brothers were both ridden by Matt Ryan, with Tic Toc claiming double gold at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, and Sandstone getting gold in the team’s event at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
Tic Toc returned to Australia in 1999; in 2000 Mrs Hyem took him out of retirement to ride in the Olympic torch relay prior to the Sydney games.
Before he became an Olympic horse, Tic Toc was ridden by Mrs Hyem’s daughter, Lisa – who’s married to former Tamworth mayor and sitting councillor James Treloar.
Mrs Treloar competed with Tic Toc at local pony club gymkhanas and jamborees.
Equestrian Australia chairman Warwick Vale said Mrs Hyem was a pioneer in the sport.
“She will be remembered for her achievements as both a rider and a breeder. Our thoughts are with her family and friends during this difficult time,” Dr Vale said.
“As a rider Bud was at the forefront of the sport and she made history in becoming the first female equestrian to represent Australia at an Olympic games.
“As the breeder of Kibah Tic Toc and Kibah Sandstone, Bud played a hand in some of Australia’s greatest equestrian triumphs and it
is a rare and remarkable accomplishment that will long be remembered.”
Mrs Hyem was married to well-known Australian showjumper the late Bill Hyem, and former Gunnedah grazier, whom she wed about the time of the Tokyo Olympics.
Mrs Hyem died in Tamworth hospital.
She is survived by her sister, Susan, brother David, daughter Lisa and son James, and four grandchildren.