This film is part of Free

Harvey Smith

“It isn’t the will to win, it’s that you don’t like to get beaten,” states the redoubtable Harvey Smith, revealed as smart, tough and easy going.

Documentary 1968 25 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


This documentary provides a wonderful insight into the mind and methods of show-jumping’s most famous champion, three years before his notorious V-sign at the judges at Hickstead in 1971. Harvey Smith is shown riding and training his horses at Craiglands Farm where he talks at length about his horses, his training methods and various aspects of his career and life, in the run up to the 1968 Olympic Games. Those who have long known him reveal that his character was set as a boy.

Harvey Smith was a household name in the 1970s, when showjumping was a regular sporting event on the BBC. He gained a reputation for being plain speaking, and clashing with the sport’s authorities. He claimed that the V-sign at the judges after winning the British Derby in 1971 was a victory sign, but he was happy for it to be taken otherwise. At the height of his fame in the 1970s he made a record and even took up wrestling. Along with his showjumping wife, Sue, he has subsequently become a highly successful trainer of National Hunt horses, and is the only man to have won both the Hickstead Derby and trained a Grand National winner. His two sons, seen in the film, have also gone on to become champion showjumpers.