The death has taken place in Dublin of Irish show jumping legend Col. Bill Ringrose, who was 89 years of age, and had been suffering from ill health for some time.
Col. Ringrose was one of the shining stars of Irish show jumping through the 1950s and 1960s and went on to become Chef d’Equipe of the Irish show jumping team during the 1970s and 1980s.
Later he was also Officer Commanding at the Army Equitation School in McKee Barracks, Dublin, which he joined with his brother Des in 1952.
During the space of one month in 1961 Billy Ringrose and Loch an Easpaig won the Grand Prix in Nice, presented by Princess Grace of Monaco, and then the Grand Prix in Rome, presented by Queen Elizabeth II, who was at the time on a State visit to Italy. Ringrose also took second place in the Rome Grand Prix with Cloyne.
During his distinguished riding career Billy Ringrose was on two Olympic squads and won six individual international show jumping Grands Prix and seven Nations Cup team events – including being part of the first mixed Army-civilian Irish team to win the Aga Khan Cup in 1963 along with Diana Conolly-Carew, Seamus Hayes and Tommy Wade.
He won the Aga Khan Cup again in 1967, alongside Hayes, Wade and Capt Ned Campion.
Ringrose was Chef d’Equipe when the famous team of Paul Darragh, James Kernan, Eddie Macken and Capt. Con Power won their famous three-in-a-row Aga Khan Cup victories between 1977 and 1979.
Billy Ringrose is the only person to have won the Aga Khan Cup as a rider, then as Chef d’Equipe of the Irish team, later presenting the trophy to the winning Irish team Chef d’Equipe in his role as President of the RDS. He is also the only rider to have won the Grand Prix event at all four shows on the American tour that the Irish team undertook each Autumn in the 1950s and 1960s – Washington DC, Harrisburg in Pennsylvania, Madison Square Garden in New York and the Toronto Winter Fair.
Billy Ringrose’s son Fergal three years ago published a book about his father’s career entitled “Billy Ringrose – A memoir of my Father”.
Billy Ringrose was predeceased by his wife Joan, who died at the age of 90 in September of 2019.
May he rest in peace.