Vale Neale Lavis OAM | An Eventful Life

Vale Neale Lavis OAM


“The thing is about all the riding that I have done, and I always put it back to the fact that I rode in the bush and became fearless in the bush, that really stuck with me and it still does when I’m riding. The schooling of horses is a slow process and it’s a very interesting process and it doesn’t happen overnight. Hasten slowly” Neale Lavis


Neale Lavis OAM, a member of the four-man Australian eventing team that won gold at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games, has died at the age of 89

Riding 'Mirrabooka', a horse he bought for £100 and refused to sell for £10,000 after the Games, Neale won the inaugural Australian three-day event in Sydney in 1957 and the Great Auckland one day event in 1960. In 1960 he went to England and competed successfully in jumping, fox-hunting and team events in Surrey, White City, and Badminton before representing his country again at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Following his eventing career he turned to racing, owning Strathallan Stud at Braidwood in southern NSW where he stood leading sire Whiskey Road and bred 1981 Melbourne Cup winner Just A Dash and 1982/83 Australian Racehorse of the Year Strawberry Road.

In 1999, Neale was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to the equestrian sports as a competitor, coach, and administrator, and to the community. He was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1989 and the and Australian Sports Medal in 2000.

Watch the video of the remarkable story of Australian Olympic medallist and boy from the bush, Neale Lavis here