Carol Hofmann Thompson
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AGE: 70 • Colts Neck Township
Carol Hofmann Thompson, 70, of Colts Neck Township, died on December 5, 2013 at home after suffering a stroke in October. She was a brilliant show jumper who was a mentor to young people in her subsequent career as a trainer. During her time with the U.S. Equestrian Team in the 1960s and early 1970s, she won classes at Hickstead, Dublin and Ostend, Belgium. In 1968, she had a major triumph with a victory in the grand prix of Rotterdam, and was the alternate for the Olympics that year. Her riding skill was matched by her stable management prowess, with everything guided by her devotion to her horses and a tireless work ethic. The daughter of Mary and Philip Hofmann, Mrs. Thompson was born on Dec. 26, 1942 and grew up in North Branch, N.J. where she was an A-rated Pony Clubber and did some eventing. The whole Hofmann family was active with the Essex Foxhounds. Mrs. Thompson showed both hunters and jumpers, using reclaimed "rescue" horses for many years. She finished second in the 1958 AHSA Medal and ASPCA Maclay finals. Two years before that, at the National Horse Show, she won the U.S. Equestrian Team Combined Test, in which riders competed in both dressage, at New York's Squadron A Armory, and then show jumping, at Madison Square Garden. After her father spent what was at the time the magnificent sum of $1,000 to buy The Kitten for her in the 1950s, she became a very serious contender in the junior jumper ranks. Following a brief stint at Bennett College, she decided to focus on riding instead of school, and went into training with U.S. Equestrian Team. The team experience set the stage for Mrs. Thompson's many accomplishments and honors, including induction into the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame. There she worked with U.S. show jumping coach Bertalan de Nemethy. Her mounts for her European tours with the team included Out Late, who was by the legendary jumper sire, Bonne Nuit, and Can't Tell, a cleverly named combination of horses. She also went on to do well with Salem, an ex-racehorse who was a big winner at the National Horse Show. Her consistent performances led to her being named the American Horse Shows Association's Horsewoman of the Year for 1968. After the Olympics that year, she went to Aiken, S.C., for what she thought would be a quiet winter, but turned out to be much more lively than she had envisioned. It was there that she met J. Willard Thompson, a thoroughbred racehorse trainer who eventually would become her husband. They operated Quiet Winter Farm in Colts Neck. Mrs. Thompson competed well into the 1990s until a trail accident in which she cracked three vertebrae ended her showing career. She took on Callan Solem as a working student after leasing a horse to her while she was still a junior. Solem became the stable's rider, and during her partnership with Mrs.Thompson, they had great success with a number of horses, including Mianta and Allison.
In addition to her husband and sister, Mrs. Thompson leaves two nephews, Hans Richter of California and Philip Richter of New York; two grand-nieces, Maxine and Margot Richter in California; stepsons Stewart and Glenn Thompson, stepdaughter, Julia Dyer, and step grandson Parker Thompson, the assistant manager at Quiet Winter.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation's Gladstone Fund, which is dedicated for upkeep of the facility. A celebration of her life will be held sometime this spring in New Jersey. Higgins Memorial Home, 20 Center Street, Freehold is in charge of arrangements.
Higgins Memorial Home
20 Center Street Freehold, NJ 07728
Published in Asbury Park Press on Dec. 8, 2013