Eva Marie Pracht, Two-Time Olympian for Canada Including Team Bronze Medalist, 1937-2021

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Members of the 1988 Olympic bronze medal team of Cindy Ishoy, Gina Smith, Ashley Holzer and Eva Maria Pracht at a Dressage Canada high performance summit in 2013.

Feb. 16, 2021

Eva Marie Pracht, who rode on Canada’s team that won bronze at the 1988 Olympics in her second Games, has died at the age of 83.

Ashley Holzer, her team mate at the 1988 Olympics, in a tribute described Eva as her “other” mother who was to her much more than a coach and mentor.

Evi, as she was known, was the daughter of Germany’s Josef Neckermann, the Olympic champion who competed at four Games. She moved to Canada in 1981. Eva lived in Cedar Valley, near Toronto.

Eva competed at the 1984 and 1988 Games, earning bronze on the squad that included Cindy Ishoy, Ashley Holzer and Gina Smith.

The highlights of her career were:

–Competed as an individual at the 1982 world championships;

–Rode Little Joe on the Canadian team at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles;

–Competed Emirage at the 1985 World Cup;

–Appeared in the 1986 world championships;

–Won team gold on Emirage at the 1987 Pan American Games with the squad that included her daughter Martina, Christilot Hanson-Boylen, and Diana Billes;

–On Emirage, won team bronze at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, and

–Competed at the World Cup in 1991.

Ashley Holzer said that Eva “gave me so many opportunities throughout my life. Evi gave me horses to ride that I would never have been able to sit on. She sold me my very first dressage horse (for a lot less money then he was worth so I could afford him) and helped me train him to Grand Prix.

“She became my ‘other’ mother. Always there for me whatever the reason. Sharing in every success and failure. Always there with kind words and understanding heart. Quick to scold me when I didn’t call enough to tell her everything about my week!!! She loved all the horses and always wanted to hear EVERYTHING about them.

“She spent endless hours patiently making sure my halts were square, the frame was perfect, my hands were quiet, the horses were going forwards enough, etc., etc. Never tiring to correct and encourage.

“She taught me so much about dressage and life. I will miss her terribly.”

She is survived by her daughter, Martina, and granddaughter, Sabrina von Buttlar, a hunter/jumper rider.