THE PASSING OF JOHN HONEYBALL
I owe so much to my dad John Honeyball who died on Sunday night after a long illness.
He achieved so much in his life, was very driven and so proud to achieve his long held ambition to own his own farm with my mother Sue in the Quantock Hills.
Although he was born in Croydon he became a true countryman and was a brilliant horseman, totally fearless, would ride anything and loved his time as Master of the Taunton Vale Foxhounds.
Dad did everything possible to get me going as a jockey. He was a massive influence, pointed me in the right direction and even had me schooling horses at home beside professionals like Simon McNeill when I was eleven or twelve.
Later he was equally supportive when I changed direction to training horses and I couldn’t have had a better tutor because his main claim to fame was that he broke in and tamed the future Gold Cup winner The Dikler as a youngster.
He was long reigning him and riding him away quite happily within a week and was soon popping him over all sorts of obstacles.
Dad thought he’d seen the last of the horse when he was put into training with Tim Forster who then sent him back to his owner fourteen weeks later because he used to run away with his riders.
My dad quietly worked his magic on The Dikler who was a right handful and always wanted to go flat out. He hunted him hard with the South Oxfordshire, using a double bridle, and loved telling the story of the day they jumped a wide hedge and ended up in deep mud up to the horse’s belly in Oxford crematorium!
A few weeks later The Dikler finished runner up to a top hunter chaser in his first point to point. He won next time, never looked back once he joined Fulke Walwyn and ran with distinction in the Gold Cup in seven consecutive years.
As you can see dad was a major influence on my life in so many ways. Thanks for the memories.
John's funeral will be on October 10th at 11am at Broomfield Church (TA5 2EQ), and the family would like you to join them afterwards in Broomfield Village Hall.