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July 3, 2014

Bruce Duchossois Dies At 64

Bruce Duchossois passed away July 2 at the age of 64. Photo by Sara Lieser.

Lifelong horseman, competitor and owner Richard Bruce Duchossois of Aiken, S.C., died following a lengthy battle with cancer on July 2. He was 64.

Duchossois’ involvement in equestrian sport was extensive. An avid competitor in the amateur-owner and adult amateur hunter divisions throughout his life, he rode his mare Kim’s Song to the amateur-owner title at the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden (N.Y.) in 1973 and earned the American Horse Shows Association Horse of the Year title in 1974. More recently, Duchossois earned an adult amateur hunter circuit championship title at the 2008 Winter Equestrian Festival (Fla.), and he competed at this year’s FTI WEF. He also enjoyed combined driving through the advanced level.  

Throughout the years, Duchossois owned horses for a number of top professionals, including event rider Phillip Dutton. Dutton and Duchossois’ Connaught won the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** in 2008, and then the pair represented the United States at the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong.

Another horse Mr. Duchossois owned for Dutton, Mighty Nice, is currently listed as an alternate for the U.S. Eventing Team for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (France). He also owned part of show jumper Lauren Hough’s World Games hopeful Ohlala, along with Dennis Singer and Desi Dillingham. Havens Schatt was his trainer in the hunter ring and she rode his horses Smiles and Just Fred in the professional divisions. 

Duchossois served on a number of equestrian boards and committees, including in his role as vice president of the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation. Elected to the position in 2013, Duchossois previously served as a committee member and chairman during his 16-year involvement with the organization.

“Bruce's passing is an incredible loss to everyone who was blessed to know him. His love of the sport and his enthusiasm for our U.S. Equestrian Teams was unparalleled,” said Tucker Johnson, president and CEO of the USET Foundation. “He led by example, not only in his support but also in the time he gave and the committees he served and chaired. We were so fortunate to have Bruce as part of the USET Foundation leadership and will miss him very much.”

Other organizations Duchossois held a role in include the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association Zone 4 Committee, the National Horse Show Board of Directors, the Alltech National Horse Show Gentleman’s Committee and the Equestrian Aid Foundation Board of Directors.

He was also actively involved in philanthropy and volunteer work. He was a side walker at the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., donating a horse to the program every year he was involved and rehoming some of the program’s retired horses to his own barn.

“It’s pretty hard to put into words,” said Phillip Dutton of his relationship with Duchossois. “He was first and foremost a great friend, and he was always a big supporter of me. For 15 or 20 years he supported me with horses, but he was there when I was riding other peoples' horses as well. He just loved horse sport and everything about it.”

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