65-Year-Old Equestrian, Who Suffered Saddening Fate in 2020, Passes Away With Loyal Dog and Family Surrounding Him

Published 05/23/2023, 9:01 AM EDT

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A devastating blow has been dealt to the equestrian world. On April 27, 2023, at the age of 65, South African showjumper Ronnie Lawrence passed away at his home. Lawrence was a well-known equestrian who advanced the standing of South African horses on the international stage. The veteran, however, was diagnosed with cancer in 2020, and subsequent heart surgery was necessary to save his life.

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In a recent report by Horse & Hound, the news of his passing was shared with the world. In his last moments, Ronnie Lawrence was accompanied by his family — Andre, Penny, and Lucky the dog.

A stellar career to be engraved in the annals of equestrian sports

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Ronnie Lawrence, who was born in Northern Rhodesia (present-day Zambia). He received his Rhodesian national colors in eventing and showjumping at both, the junior and adult levels, when he was 16 years old. Upon receiving an Anglo-American-sponsored scholarship,  the showjumper relocated to South Africa in 1979 and quickly rose to the top of the country’s equestrian industry.

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In 1987 and 1988, Lawrence triumphed in the South African showjumping championships. After riding Vallon Rouge to victory in the World Cup series in South Africa, the equestrian headed back to Europe where he competed in Jerez de la Frontera, then went to Brussels, Mechelen, Olympia, Mill Street, and finally the World Cup finals. When Lawrence got back to South Africa from his riding trip around Europe, he established the Highborn Equestrian Academy. According to Horse & Hound, he also began his own coaching courses, which have since inspired a large number of amateur equestrians.

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However, after being diagnosed with cancer in January 2020, Lawrence’s health began to deteriorate. He had a serious heart attack, and had to have triple bypass surgery, also called coronary artery bypass grafting. However, the equestrian didn’t stop participating in his favorite hobby while experiencing health issues. He continued to participate in the Derby and World Cup legs. The South African rider competed in his last CSI1-W competition at the World Cup Two Rounds. The showjumper’s health concerns didn’t prevent him from finishing 8th with horse Gillian Van Orshof. In addition to being Lawrence’s final professional mount, Gillian Van Orshof was also the last horse he ever owned. On April 27, South Africa’s Freedom Day, he passed away surrounded by his family: Andre, Penny, and his pet, Lucky.

WATCH THIS STORY – Despite Potential Career-Ending Disasters, Equestrian-Horse Duo Set to Make a Grand Comeback

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Written by:

Rahul Goutam Hoom

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Rahul Hoom is a seasoned sportswriter with a diverse range of interests at EssentiallySports. He takes pride in his multidimensional personality that encompasses gaming, photography, and writing. While he cannot resist the urge to cover the latest exploits of Connor McDavid, Rahul's writing prowess extends beyond the NHL.
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Edited by:

Anupama Ghosh

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