Major P.W.S. (Pat) Maxwell
Pat Maxwell’s family sadly informed us that their beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather died on 21st September 2010. Six weeks before, the Maxwells were confronted with the diagnosis that Pat suffered from lung cancer – he sadly lost the battle.
Breeding and showing was not all and so Pat got involved in “Arabian horse politics” and was elected as Council Member of the AHS, where he is fondly remembered of being very helpful to everybody. But above all, Pat was a horseman through and through, and so he was concerned about the direction in which Arabian horse shows were going. When in 1983 some countries joined for the first time to create the European Arabian Horse Show Commission, he was with them. Two years later, when a steering committee was charged with the creation of the constitution and legal framework for the new organization called European Conference of Arab Horse Organizations (ECAHO), he was the head of it and consequently became the organization’s first president. ECAHO became his “baby” and he gave ECAHO a face. He was the driving force, and ECAHO grew steadily from 13 countries in 1985 to 28 countries in 2001 when he resigned for health reasons.
During this time, the show scene in Europe and the Arab countries developed and grew steadily. And although the Show Commission was always his most important concern, it was during his presidency that the Studbook Commission came into life and the Amsterdam Agreement was ratified which guaranteed the reciprocal acceptance of all Arabian horses registered in ECAHO Member countries – this was before WAHO had enforced the same on a world-wide level. Also during his presidency, the Racing Commission was founded in 1988 and left ECAHO in 1997 to become a world-wide body under the name of International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) – ECAHO was so to speak its midwife. It was also due to his farsightedness that the Sport Commission was founded in 1997. It was not difficult to convince him, a dedicated rider, that the Arabian horse needs to be promoted in all its versatility. And it was during his presidency that the Arab countries were invited to become Full Members, provided that they had a certain number of horses and shows. But there were drawbacks as well. He vehemently fought for his idea of a “European Studbook Database”, but the members refused to follow him.
He was the Chairman, later called President, of ECAHO for 18 years and although ECAHO is a democratic body, he preferred a clear chain of command, a relic of his military times. He had the gift to listen to different opinions and analyze them; he then would draw his own conclusion and take a decision, or present his ideas with all the pros and cons at the next meeting. On a personal note, I would like to add that it was a pleasure to work with him those 5 years as his General Secretary. I always felt taken seriously and accepted, in troubled times he would back me up and never let me down. Thank you, Pat.
Rest in Peace.
Our sincere condolences go to his wife Joanna, their daughter Emma and the other seven children from their previous marriages, twenty-one grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Former General Secretary of ECAHO
Book of Condolence:
It is hard to single out particular memories of Pat Maxwell to share here, for he, Joanna, Emma and the whole extended family – human and non – were really one package and they played a large part not just in my own personal, but also in Jordan’s horse-related history.
I first became acquainted with “The Maxwells” when Rachael and Ronald Kydd arranged a visit to Lodge Farm for myself and Ursula Lopez who, with her husband, had founded our own stud here in Jordan in its modern form. Of course, we did find not one but two lovely colts to refresh our bloodlines, and it was the start of an amazing adventure into the world of showing.
Pat and Joanna were instrumental in Jordan sending a mare from here to show in England back in the early 1980s and they introduced me to my very good friend Fiona Murray (now Leng) and her wonderful parents, who showed Jordan’s Lodge Farm colts Verinag, Hamadahn and Jerrash to titles in the Nations Cup, the World Championships and in Jordan.
I was fortunate enough to have a crash course in judging given by Pat and Joanna, which gave me the courage and confidence to go through with my first judging appointment in Uruguay. Pat had a really brilliant way of explaining things clearly and logically, making them stick in your head. I still try to be consciously aware of some of his warnings about common pitfalls – the mistakes judges make – as I found that they were very true and they need to be remembered.
Pat was also keenly aware of the awful trends in abuse and I remember as far back as Scottsdale 1985, sitting with a solemn, concerned Pat, who was worrying about the ethics of selling horses to places where this training abuse was likely. He did not just sit discussing, however. He acted and the result was ECAHO, set up for the welfare of the show horses. Perhaps the most vivid memories, however, are the fun ones: meals shared in various horseboxes, trundling across Europe to or from shows in convoy, getting lost and having to reverse out of narrow urban Dutch streets, with elderly ladies peering in astonishment through lace curtains at the odd sight of a row of assorted trucks and Pat on foot with a map, trying to ascertain from some helpful bystander where we took a wrong turn; my sister Aisha also behind curtains – but hiding in embarrassment – as I piled out of the Lodge Farm horsebox in which Pat and Joanna had kindly given me a lift to visit her at her university in Oxford. Evenings by the fireside, days at horseshows, discussions, lessons, history… Good times.
You are remembered with tremendous affection Pat, and with gratitude. And above all, with smiles.
HRH Princes Alia Al Hussein
Pat and Joanna can be counted amongst the great breeders of the world in the past 50 years, especially with having bred Maleik el Kheil. Listening to their reasons why they bred this horse to that horse made complete sense, and they were never interested in sticking to a particular bloodline – matings were decided on what stallion would suit each mare. Their knowledge was amazing as they could talk in depth about horses many generations back, and the mares in their breeding programme reflected that.
From a personal standpoint, although I had known them casually for many years, it was only when they commenced coming out to the United Arab Emirates on a regular basis that I really got to know them well. Pat and Joanna would always come to stay for a couple of days and I always made sure that there was a bottle of Pat’s tipple in the cupboard; once he’d had a couple, ideas and stories would pour out of him – fascinating! Too, they always came with a shopping list to so it was off to the most suitable local shops where I would find somewhere to sit while Pat haggled the price down.
One time, they bought a carpet in the morning and then in the afternoon, they saw another one they just had to have. However, too heavy to take both in the plane so one was left with me to take to England on my next trip and it was delivered to them at Malvern, boot to boot, in the car park.
It is very hard to grasp that Pat is no longer with us; what a loss and I have still not come to terms with his passing. A true gentleman, but woe betide anyone if you got on the wrong side of him – he didn’t mince his words, and he was very articulate indeed.
I will never forget you Pat, God bless.
I remember showing against Pat at Bath and West one year and they had El Shaklan (Shakr El Masri x Estopa) there and on that occasion, he was only third. I think it was 1978 at the time, and the judge came to him with the rosette and he said “you either like this type or you don’t”. Pat was always a good loser in the show-ring and I think he was a true sportsman; a lot of people can learn from that nowadays. We will all miss him.
Personally, Pat was always a kind man who always wanted to talk and listen to what I had to say. But more than that, Pat was the glue that held the Maxwell ladies – Joanna and Emma – together: all three were very important to each other, which made them one of the most successful Arabian studs in the whole of Europe in their heyday.
Apart from passing pleasantries this year at the Emerald Trophy, the last thing he said to me that I remember is that someone taught you how to knock a nail in straight! We were doing some fencing at the time – strange the things you remember… I was pleased to know him.
My recollections of Pat, although many knew him far better than me, are of someone funny, extremely sharp-witted and very fair minded. Never afraid to stand his corner and speak his mind, he was part of a family team that has contributed such an enormous amount to the breed today, not least in his own right being instrumental in the founding of ECAHO and the leasing and promoting to the world of one El Shaklan! An everyday chat over a drink or a meal with Pat and Joanna was – for anyone vaguely interested in the history, bloodlines or indeed anything to do with the Arabian horse – better than reading any, and probably all, of the material available on the breed.
I have always remembered the good advice Pat gave when as a first-time stallion owner I was lucky enough to purchase Madaba from Lodge Farm. Pat was always very generous with his time, sharing views, advice and his considerable experience. I absolutely know he will be remembered for his huge sense of fun and humour: I always recall the “One Vodka, Two Vodkas, Three Vodkas – GRENLANDIA!!!” advert that ran after a certain surprise purchase by Pat at the Polish sales. But personally, I shall always remember someone extremely kind, knowledgeable and polite, a gentleman and the absolute best of old school – with a wicked twinkle in his eye.
The Arabian horse world has lost an incredible figure – one of a kind – but all my thoughts are with Joanna, Emma and the Maxwell family on their personal loss and the huge hole that Pat leaves behind.
When asked to write about Pat Maxwell, my initial thought was that I could probably write a book on all the precious memories that I have of him, but for me there is one memory that shines out above the rest and to me, it highlights Pat’s supportiveness as a friend. Back in 2002, I wanted to have a go again at Arab racing – this time my horse was Millennium Ibn Procyon – and while I roughly knew how to get a horse fit, due to lack of gallops, our training was not what it should be. Pat and I used to talk on a regular basis of how he was going and when Pat came down to visit us, I got Millennium in. Pat walked around him, slapped the horse’s rear and said: “Hard as nails, good job Lulu.” After many early mornings of trotting up hills and country lanes, our first meeting was soon upon us at Larkhill and while I had raced previously, it felt very different with Millennium and I didn’t want to let him down. I rang Pat for advice: he told me to let the horse feel his feet, have an easy race, don’t push it and to let him enjoy it. Race day came and I followed Pat’s advice, coming a credible third. “Good,” Pat said when I told him how we had done.
The next race came, this time at Lingfield, and on talking to Pat before the race, he gave me a totally different strategy: “You take it easy going to the start, conserve his energy, keep calm, You watch the starter like a hawk and if he so much as moves a muscle, you go and don’t stop until you are past the finish post – yell like a banshee, make noises like a bear – but you keep on going.” With all this illuminating information, we headed to the start line at Lingfield. Millennium felt like coiled spring, waiting to explode, and I followed Pat’s advice, watching the starter like a hawk. He moved, the elastic went, and so did we! I felt as if I had whiplash, Millennium went so fast. Out in front, on the final bend, a big horse came up on our outside us and so I decided to follow the rest of Pat’s advice, yelling like a banshee and making noises like a bear – Millennium obviously thought that there was an army of bears behind him as he accelerated and we didn’t stop until we were past the finish line. In first place! I had achieved a childhood dream that I never thought possible. That evening, I rang Pat and gave him the full story, bear noises and all. He was so genuinely happy and supportive for us, and that meant so much to us all.
Pat was a true, one-off original. There may be many other characters in the Arabian world, but there was only one Pat. No one could or can ever fill his shoes, and I must say that it was a privilege to have the Maxwell family as our friends. Thank you Pat, for all the wonderful memories.
Pat was a dear friend, a fabulous host and, above all, a breeder of wonderful, happy horses, kindly trained at home to huge success in the show-ring. I remember gorgeous parties in the Crendon Barn to celebrate yet another World Championship, with Pat always giving all the credit to Joanna for her infinite knowledge and experience and to Emma for her lifelong rapport and her ability with the horses.
Pat was simply the kindest, most generous person you could ever meet.
I don’t ever remember a time when the Maxwell family were not there. From being a young girl, going to Ascot with ribbons in my hair, through to the days of the European shows, Pat, Joanna and Emma have always been there, woven into the fabric of the Arabian show scene like no other.
It was once I had started the magazine, however, that I grew to have the most contact with Pat and Joanna. Pat would always seek me out at Malvern, give me a clap on the back and say “well done”. He enjoyed the stance that The Arabian Magazine has taken over the years on horse abuse – the fact that we don’t publish the hard stand up photographs being a case in point. Whether Pat and Joanna saw me in Aachen, Paris or a local AHS show here in the UK, he would always stop for a moment or three and tell me he was proud of what we had achieved.
Like all that have contributed to this piece, which celebrates how Pat touched the lives of everyone he met, many of our memories are there for us to savour of the years and not to be shared through the pages of a magazine. Suffice to say that it is impossible to think of Pat and not picture the great Lodge Farm horses in your mind, or to think of Pat’s cheeky smile and the gleam in his eye; above all, you think of a great gentleman, whose passing has left the world a far emptier place. Rest in peace Pat; you will be sorely missed.
How can I sum up my enduring friendship with the Major Pat Maxwell? Well, with great difficulty, as our friendship lasted for over 30 years!
My father and Pat were at school together at Wycliffe College and knew each other there, but it wasn’t until the mid-1970s – the golden age of the Arabian horse world in the UK – that our friendship returned. My family had just started our stud farm and Pat assisted by bringing Procyon back to the UK from Spain for us. The two became great friends on the journey, sharing apples – Pat the fruit and Procyon the cores.
I had a love of videoing horses, our own and when my sister does her show-jumping. Pat asked me if I would help video and edit a sales tape for them as he thought video was the new way of selling. This we did shortly after they moved to Stadhampton in Oxfordshire – two and a half hours of footage reduced down to just 10 minutes. The results were good.
Pat came into his own when I introduced him to join my rifle club; I had kept horse friends and shooting friends apart and Pat was the first to cross over. He became great friends with the members, fitting in as only Pat could; he would keep us highly entertained with his Sandhurst and military service stories, but one thing is certain – he could hold his own in any competition we did. He found his Sunday morning shoots a break and thoroughly enjoyed mucking in. One member said “I am half his age and I cannot shoot that well” – and this particular member was an excellent shot!
We sadly lost Pat and Joanna to France, but this didn’t stop Pat planning a trip across every so often, staying near us so that we would all go for a curry in the evening as there was a lack of good Indian restaurants in France. Joanna would drop him off in the morning to play with the boys and she would go off to get provisions for their return journey home. Pat always had a fabulous time and he will be sorely missed.
One thing is for sure – Pat is sitting up there with a glass in hand, watching over, his presence always felt by those that knew and loved him.
Like so many people the world over, I am thankful and honoured to have had the privilege of knowing Pat Maxwell. He will live on in our memories for so many reasons. All his achievements for half a century of putting his heart and soul into so many aspects of the international world of Arabian horses, especially their welfare, will be a permanent legacy of his stature in our global Arabian horse community. Above all, he will be remembered for his true horsemanship, his open and enquiring mind, his willingness to share his knowledge, his love for his family, his steadfast loyalty to his friends, and personally I will remember him especially for his irrepressible sense of humour.
Dear Pat, we will all miss you. With my deepest sympathy to all his family.