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Obituary - Walter Lorch
29 May 2003

My Friend and Mentor

Life is full of surprises, and when I closed the door on the British Spotted pony team era, I knew what I wanted to do next - but the big question was how. I heard through Peter Bennett that a gentleman called Walter Lorch had a pair of driving horses and that his groom/driver had left - Why didn?t I have a chat with him? The only problem was that I was packing for a six-week trip to America. I thought about it on the plane over, and a gut feeling made me phone a friend and ask them if they would approach Walter on my behalf. Walter liked the proposition and agreed to meet me on my return in November 1990. A new door opened. Walter agreed to upgrade his current turnout in to a team. With the full support of his wife Diana and daughter Janet, the Muschamp Trakehner Driving Team was formed.

Walter Lorch was enchanted by the history of the Trakehner horse and how they made an epic escape from Prussia to safety in West Germany during the war. Only about 50 horses survived the journey. A strict breeding programme was enforced to regenerate the breed and Walter became the first person to import a graded Trakehner stallion into Britain. The Muschamp Stud was founded

Walter?s interest in driving was inspired by the birth of twins; ?Percy? and ?Sony? were an instant matched pair. Walter competed himself in the early days but realised that his own shortcomings, usually resulting in elimination, were holding back the success of the pair of horses.

One of the many things Walter enjoyed was giving young people an opportunity in life. There were several grooms and helpers who were given the chance to compete over the years. But the biggest opportunity was the chance he gave me. Walter stood by me through thick and thin. There were times when I felt like giving up, but even in adversity Walter would always see the bright side and encourage me to go on. He had a great sense of humour and rapport with the young, and we had so many good times together. I remember one winter in the snow when Black Park was closed to horses for the winter. Bearing in mind that Walter was at the time in his late seventies, he decided we would use the horses to tow him around the park on his skis. We certainly had fun - and the park wardens knew exactly whose door to knock on!

Finally our hard work paid off and the successes started to come. For Walter the point of total job satisfaction came when I made it on to the British Team at the World Equestrian Games in The Hague.

Walter?s dream was realised, but for me I wanted to continue. Yet again he came up trumps, and allowed me to continue under my own steam. Walter remained very supportive financially as well as morally, and he was always giving me ideas on how to improve my team.

I was fortunate to know him for the last twelve years of his life, but his whole life had been such an adventure. His inventive mind was respected and renowned worldwide. He was an ideas man although not all of his ideas were practical and some were impossible. His depth of knowledge on a variety of subjects from cooking, water science, horses and carriages, led to many published books.

Walter?s philosophy on life was that all things were possible. And this is what made him the special man that he was. He told me so many stories from his younger days and his generosity touched so many.

For me he made a dream came true.

Karen Bassett