WAHO Memoriam

Ronald Kydd, past Executive Secretary of WAHO and one of the most influential figures of the Arabian horse world, died in May 2002. President of the Arab Horse Society of Great Britain three times, in 1964, 1969 and 1974, he was an ardent advocate of the ridden Arabian in every sphere, including racing and endurance. He was also a highly respected judge at national and international shows. For many years Ronald and his wife Rachael, whom he met at Oxford University, ran a mixed farm in the remote hills of Wales. With the acquisition of the chestnut stallion Indian King and the mares Dancing Sunlight and Dancing Shadow (the famous “Heavenly Twins”) from Lady Wentworth, the foundation was laid for a successful breeding programme of Purebred Arabians, as well as Anglo Arabs and Part Bred Arabs, which soon found their way to many corners of the world.

Ronald will perhaps be best known outside the U.K. as one of the architects and founders of WAHO. His personality was ideally suited to take on this great challenge. He had gained an immense reservoir of experience in every field of management of breed societies, in the drafting and execution of rules and regulations, consulting and negotiating with similar bodies both national and international. The early 1960s were boom years for the Arabian horse in Europe. In 1966, at the Arab Horse Society’s National Show in England, four like-minded enthusiasts – Claes Lewenhaupt of Sweden, Peter Houtappel of the Netherlands, Ekkehard Frielinghaus of Germany and Ronald Kydd of the UK – conceived the idea of forming a worldwide organization to promote the interests of the Arabian horse. This spark soon took fire as the time was right to form a body to provide a forum for problem solving in such matters as standardization of registration procedures, stud book investigation and organization, import and export regulations, and so on.

The Arab Horse Society hosted two international conferences in 1967 and 1970, chaired by Major Ian Hedley, which led to the foundation of an agreed framework and a name – the World Arabian Horse Organization. Ronald became Vice-Chairman of the original steering committee, chaired by Jay Stream, and was one of the chief formulators of the draft Constitution which was adopted at the 1972 WAHO Conference in Seville, Spain. That steering committee became the first Executive Committee, with Jay Stream as President and Ronald, in due course, as WAHO’s first Executive Secretary. His great charm, sharp mind and sense of humour, his obvious enjoyment of life, his diplomatic skills and attention to detail, his vision and idealism, all these qualities which he brought to this new venture made him the perfect man for the responsibilities ahead. And so a new chapter of his life began as he and Rachael moved to Surrey to set up the first WAHO office in England.

The implementation of the original idea for a world organization was a task which required delicate work in uncharted territory, breaking new ground in many directions. The Executive Committee was soon forged into a tightly knit group of personal friends, each one a strong individual in their own right, acting together under the inspired tandem of Jay and Ronald. This close international teamwork made it possible for WAHO to make incredible progress right from the start. It took years of patient work, highly skilled diplomacy, confident authority and research to bring WAHO from its original nucleus of 12 to today’s Membership of over 60 countries. The generous vision and enthusiastic dedication of its founders was and is one of its greatest assets and ensured its solid foundation. Ronald was truly one of the architects of WAHO’s success and over the years both he and Rachael forged lasting friendships all over the world.

In 1985, at the age of seventy, Ronald retired as WAHO’s Executive Secretary. He and Rachael retired to Yorkshire, where they lived happily until Rachael’s death. Ronald himself continued to play an active advisory role as an elder statesman in the affairs of Arabian horse societies worldwide, until his passing in May 2002. We shall both miss a true and great personal friend who was part of our lives for more than forty years.

Pesi and Elisabeth Gazder.