Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

Subscribe RISK FREE for complete access to website PLUS
twice-monthly e-magazine.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13

bay cockburn.leesDouglas Lees photoBay Cockburn, ex-MFH, hard-riding huntsman, and former winning steeplechase jockey and trainer, died of complications from melanoma on December 25, 2013.

Confined to a wheelchair for the last fifteen years of his life as the result of a riding accident, Bay was an aggressive race rider and had been referred to as the Evel Knievel of all huntsmen. He represented the epitome of invincibility in the saddle until one fateful day, while exercising a hunter over a straightforward coop that he had jumped countless times, he fell and was left paralyzed from the chest down.

He stayed in the game as best he could, training steeplechase horses, and despite the wheelchair, he continued to live the only way he knew how: full speed forward. I saw him at the races one day propelling his motorized chair, rocking perilously over the lumpy ground across a hillside until it finally toppled over. Friends rushed to right him and rearrange him in his chair, and he continued his hurried progress to get a glimpse of his horse at the next fence. Just another of many falls to ignore. Bay maintained his training license and remained active through 2013.

Bay rode in sanctioned races and point-to-points from 1991 to 1997 with twelve sanctioned wins to his credit. I saw him steal a race down the stretch at the Blue Ridge Hunt Point-to-Point one year. He was lying second trying to overtake the leader. He anticipated just when the jock in first place would turn around to check on him. His body went quiet as if he had resigned himself to second place. The jock in front checked on Bay, was satisfied he had the race won, turned back to the wire and went to sleep. Bay got into his horse like a whirling dervish and passed his victim just before the wire.

To read more, log in (above) or click to subscribe.

Comments   

+2 # Lsuren R Giannini 2014-01-04 20:58
RIP Bay Cockburn - but he won't, he'll keep on keeping on doing what he loves - gone away and not forgotten by anyone who watched him race and pilot that steel steed across the natural terrain of his favorite element, a racecourse with jumps. Great Tribute, Norm, really wonderful anecdotes about Bay - thank you so much for this!!!
Reply
# Meaghan M 2014-01-07 08:38
Sounds like a really cool guy. I'm glad Foxhunting Life honored him like this.
Reply
# Anita Baarns 2014-01-07 11:54
You never knew, but I admired you so much! You were an inspiration to all of us!
Reply
# katie cockburn 2014-01-25 20:08
i keep finding these wonderful articles on my dad! thank you! he was an incredible human being. I miss him everyday.
Reply

Add comment

Security code
Refresh