By US Equestrian Communications Department
Hunter jumper trainer, instructor, and USEF Pegasus Medal of Honor recipient Judith H. Richter (Judy) died peacefully in Greenwich Hospital at the age of 83 on November 30, 2022.
Judy was born on June 22, 1939, in Boston, MA, to Philip B. Hofmann and Mary K. Hofmann, and she spent her childhood years on Windy Acres, her family’s home and horse farm in North Branch, New Jersey, and summers on Peri-Wahn, her family’s farm retreat in East Barnard, Vermont. Judy attended Kent Place School in New Jersey and Smith College in Massachusetts.
On August 19, 1961, she married Max E. Richter from Hamburg, Germany. Max and Judy moved to Manhattan, and Judy began her teaching career at Choate-Rosemary Hall in Greenwich, CT. After teaching English for several years, she dedicated her focus to horses, her greatest passion.
In 1967 she and Max bought their own horse farm on Taconic Rd. in Greenwich, CT, and thus began Judy’s illustrious career as a riding instructor and horse trainer. She named the farm Coker Farm after her most beloved horse Mr. Coker. Her business boomed in the 1970s, and in 1977 Coker Farm outgrew its four-acre plot of land and moved to a 104-acre farm in Bedford, NY. There her career flourished, and she enjoyed the rest of her life.
In addition to numerous accolades and honors, Judy was named Horseperson of the Year in 1974 by the American Horse Shows Association. She was inducted into the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame in 2004, and she received the USEF Pegasus Medal of Honor in 2020. Building upon her direct work with riders and horses, Judy wrote a column for The Chronicle of the Horse, and she was the author of several books about horses and riding, the most notable two being Horse and Rider: From Basics to Show Competition (1979) and Pony Talk: A Complete Learning Guide for Young Riders (1993).
“Judy was a truly special person, who mentored and inspired so many of us,” said US Equestrian CEO Bill Moroney. “She will be truly missed, but her legacy will continue through all of us fortunate enough to know her.”
“We are saddened to learn of the loss of beloved lifelong horsewoman Judy Richter,” said Bonnie B. Jenkins, Executive Director, USET Foundation. “A renowned hunter/jumper trainer and rider, Judy also had strong ties to the U.S. equestrian teams, the USET Foundation, and our Gladstone facility. As a child, Judy lived nearby and was able to spend time at Hamilton Farm in Gladstone, NJ, when it served as the training headquarters for our U.S. equestrian teams. Later she would join the USET Foundation’s National Advisory Committee, a position she held for 22 years. A stall at Hamilton Farm has also been named in recognition of her horse of a lifetime, Johnny’s Pocket. Judy’s contributions to equestrian sport were immeasurable and she will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with Judy’s family and friends.”
It goes way beyond the scope of this short obituary to acknowledge the vast number of students, friends, and colleagues Judy touched and influenced. Judy was what Malcolm Gladwell calls a “connector”: one who invests in relationships and works to maintain friendships. The outpouring of texts, emails, and phone calls has been overwhelming. She is a legend in the show jumping industry, and her death marks the end of an era.
Judy’s only sibling Carol Thompson, also an accomplished horsewoman, died in 2013, and her loving husband Max died in 2007. Judy is survived by two sons: Hans Richter of Encinitas, California, and Philip Richter of Wellington, Florida. She also has a daughter-in-law, Jennifer Richter, and two granddaughters, Maxine and Margot Richter. Richard Ten Dyke, her loving partner these past few years, remains on Coker Farm in Bedford, NY. We all miss her dearly.
A survivor of breast cancer, Judy would like any donations to go to The American Cancer Society and/or the USET Foundation.
A celebration of her life on Coker Farm is being planned for May.