“Sorry for Your Devastating Loss”: Equestrian World Left Heartbroken After 88-Year-Old Legend, Who Made History Once, Passes Away

Published 03/31/2023, 10:16 AM EDT

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Since its inclusion in the Olympics in 1900, equestrian sports have had a rich history. Getting an animal to do your bidding isn’t simple, therefore perfecting the sport requires a lot of effort and discipline. Since the sport has been around for nearly a century, there are naturally many icons who have entered the annals of history. One such figure is Charles “Champ” Hough, who, in the 1960s, was one of the youngest competitors. On Monday, after spending a week in hospice care, Charles Hough passed away peacefully at the age of 88, leaving the world mourning his death.

Lauren Hough, Charles Hough’s daughter, wrote a heartfelt tribute to her late father on Facebook, where the equestrian community came together to share their grief.

The tale of the equestrian legend


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Charles Hough is better known by his nickname, Champ. The equestrian superstar was so dominant during his peak, that he hardly requires an introduction. He made Olympic history with the United States team in Helsinki in 1952, when he was only 18 years old. He was the youngest equestrian contestant at those Games. That wasn’t it; his team also won the bronze medal. With the elimination of the cavalry and the army’s withdrawal from equestrian competitions, that was the first time the United States had sent a civilian equestrian team to the Olympics. A tremendous accomplishment, Champ went in guns blazing into the Olympics, one of the most revered and anticipated events in the world.

Yet for someone who would go on to have an impact throughout the sport, it was only the beginning. Champ was also well-known in the horse industry; for 27 years, he had his own show stable in Northern California. He eventually settled in Ocala, Florida, where he entered the horse racing business. Hough’s “Conformation Clinic” section appeared in Practical Horseman for many years. Lauren Hough, his daughter, was also an equestrian competitor in the 2000 Olympics.

The sports world united for this tough moment

Hough’s daughter, Lauren, mentioned in her tribute that life had been difficult for him ever since he had a stroke in 2001. In her Facebook post, she wrote in the caption,“No words yet for me….. just grateful for everyone’s support during this difficult journey. I can most definitely tell you he passed in peace.” The whole equestrian world quickly flocked to the comments section to express their sorrow at the news.


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A fab worried for Lauren, said, “So sorry for your devastating loss. It is so hard to say goodbye. Thinking of you.” Taking a trip down memory lane, one comment read, “I remember your Dad picking me up from the airport when I had landed in Florida absolutely terrified at 18yrs old, his smile and energy instantly put me at ease and made me feel safe. An incredible horseman with an infectious zest for life! His love and support for you was a joy to witnessed. Sending you love & strength at this time Xxxx”


Acknowledging the contribution that Champ and his family had made to the sport, one fan said, “What a legacy your family has created. Champ will be missed but his influence lives on.” Empathizing with the harshness of the situation a comment read, “We can imagine how difficult it’s been for you all these last years. Champ is dedicated peace and will smile down on you and guide you always. We all know how much he loved you.”


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Charles Hough left a significant mark on the equestrian community, and his influence would be seen long after his death. May he rest in peace.


Written by:

Rahul Goutam Hoom


One take at a time

Rahul Goutam Hoom is a US Sports writer for EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his Master's in Mass Communication and Journalism from Birla Global University. Rahul does photography and gaming during his leisure hours and likes to watch anime.
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Edited by:

Anupama Ghosh