Olympic equestrian rider and horse breeder Bridget “Bud” Hyem has died at the age of 81 in Australia.
Hyem (née McIntyre) grew up in the small town of Kayuga, near Muswellbrook, NSW. She was the first woman to represent Australia in equestrian sports at the Olympic Games, taking her place in the Australian showjumping team at Tokyo in 1964. Australia finished seventh, and she placed 24th individually aboard Coronation.
In Tokyo, she married fellow Australian show jumper Bill Hyem.
She later 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 in Barcelona and Sandstone gold in the team’s event in Sydney.
In an interview with the ABC’s Australian Story, Ryan said that Bud was ever encouraging. “One of the quirky problems that I had with Tic Toc was the showjumping phase, and that must’ve frustrated the hell out of Bud, because her specialty was showjumping, and the fact that that was my weakest link in three-day eventing must’ve really annoyed her. “She would send me photos of other people riding him at top level showjumping, saying, “See, Matt? He can actually jump really well. Get your arse in gear!” Just be a little more positive to it.”
Tic-Toc returned to Australia in 1999 and in 2000 Bud took him out of retirement to ride in the Olympic torch relay before the Sydney Games. Before he became an Olympic horse Tic-Toc was ridden by Bud’s daughter Lisa who competed with him at local pony Club gymkhanas and jamborees. The bloodlines of Tic-Toc and Sandstone date back to a ‘little black mare’ which Bud’s father purchased from a drover for two shillings.
Hyem opened up her famous property ‘Kibah’ to hold both Pony Club and EA One Day Events.
In announcing Hyem”s passing, Equestrian Australia Chairman Dr Warwick Vale paid tribute to the pioneering equestrian.
“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.
“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.”