Sue Grange, the founder of Lothlorien Farms and owner and breeder of champion jumping and racing horses died on October 19th.
Sue was well known on the show jumping circuit having worked with many of Canada’s top professionals. Canadian team members Ian Millar, Beth Underhill, Chris Pratt, and Yann Candele have all ridden under the blue and gold colours of Lothlorien with great success.
Sue prided herself at being a hands-on breeder and owner who managed her own barn. She was actively involved with developing individual programs for all her horses, and worked directly with their riders. In a 2013 interview with Horse Sport magazine she noted, “I am very proud when any of my horses go well, knowing that I had selected the horse and been instrumental in bringing it along. This, and the fact that participation in big events has brought my entire family together on a regular basis, is what is most gratifying to me. The Olympics, the WEG, the Pan American Games, and other large events have turned out to be a family affair.”
Her hard work was rewarded with twice being named Jump Canada’s Owner Of The Year. She earned her first title in 2005 for her “immense” contributions to Canadian show jumping with team horses In Style and Mustique partnered with Ian Millar and Chris Pratt, respectively. In Style would also earn her a second award, in 2008, when all the owners of the silver medal jumping team from the 2008 Beijing Olympics Olympic were recognized.
More recently, Ireland’s Connor Swail rode for Grange for five years until 2016. Swail had great success with the Lothlorien string, earning 175 top-six placings and 65 wins in international competition, for total winnings of over $2 million aboard horses including Lansdowne, Grafton, Ariana, Cita, Simba de la Roque, and Dillinger.
Fellow Irish-man Daniel Coyle, who had been working alongside Swail, took over the Lothlorien rides with tremendous success. In 2016 he made his Nations’ Cup debut at Thunderbird Show Park leading the Irish to victory with double clear rounds aboard Tennyson, a Canadian Sport Horse, bred by Grange. In 2017, Coyle has had 21 FEI victories on six different Lothlorien horses variously owned by Grange or Grange and her daughter, Ariel.
A granddaughter of the late newspaper baron Roy Thomson, Grange was hooked on riding after joining a friend at her riding lessons and “loved it immediately.” She moved to England with her family in 1967, where she showed and went foxhunting. After moving back to Canada, she rode out of Lorne Siegle’s barn in Oakville and also spent five years showing with legendary horseman and CET Olympic coach Carl Knee in the US. She became a top competitor, enjoying success in the grand prix ring with Bricklin, Eli, Normandy, and Right Pass.
In 1975, Grange purchased the original 100 acres that is home to Lothlorien Farm in Cheltenham, ON, which, with the purchase of surrounding properties, has grown to its current 500 acres. Named for a forest in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, the farm was the home of the “Cheltenham Gold Cup Horse Show” from 1977 to 1989.
An injury briefly took her away from horses, but as she told Horse Sport, her love of the animals eventually won out. “Unfortunately, after several years, I herniated a disc in my back which prevented me from carrying on my riding career. As you can imagine, I was very frustrated with this predicament, and actually got away from the horse show scene for several years. I always said that I could never be ‘just an owner’ and stand on the sidelines. However, as time went by I realized that I could not just walk away from my love for horses – even if it meant not riding myself.”
Grange’s parents, Audrey and Elwood Campbell, were avid fans of Standardbred racing, a passion her mother pursued after her father’s passing. In 2005, Sue joined her mother in purchasing three Standardbred mares. The purchase eventually led her to owning Well Said, the 3yr-old North American Pacer of the Year in 2009, who won the prestigious Little Brown Jug and the Meadowlands Pace and North American Cup that year.
Grange leaves behind her husband, John, and four children Tyler, Dylan (with her first husband, Don MacNamara), Brennan, and Ariel.