Suzanne W. Smithwick, 75, equestrian who taught horseback riding to children

February 09, 2002|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Suzanne W. Smithwick, an accomplished equestrian and teacher who enjoyed teaching the joys of horseback riding to children, died Monday of renal failure at her My Lady's Manor farm. She was 75.

Born Suzanne Whitman in Baltimore, her equine interests began as a child growing up in Chattolanee Hills near Garrison, where she learned to ride and hunt foxes with the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club.

A 1943 graduate of Garrison Forest School, Mrs. Smithwick studied music at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J.

In 1950, she married A. Patrick "Paddy" Smithwick Sr., a noted steeplechase rider. Mr. Smithwick, who held the third-best national record as a steeplechase rider, was inducted in 1973 into the Racing Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. He died in 1973.

During the heyday of her husband's career, Mrs. Smithwick ran the family farm that was overflowing with race horses, show horses and hunters, family members said.

She also gave riding lessons to youngsters and enjoyed the sport as much as they did.

"Some summer days, she would take a young boy or girl out for a long early-morning ride ... giving the youth a riding lesson without him or her knowing it," said her son, A. Patrick Smithwick Jr. of Parkton.

"She was a very stylish rider who had lots of finesse," said D.M. "Mike" Smithwick, her brother-in-law, who is a trainer and also a member of the Racing Hall of Fame and lives in Long Green Valley.

When Mrs. Smithwick wasn't teaching riding, she'd return to her home to teach piano to a music student, and then reverted to being a student, studying jazz piano with a teacher who came to her home.

A natural athlete who rode until she was 71, she also enjoyed skiing, golf, tennis and sailing.

Mrs. Smithwick was also an animal lover who took in stray or mistreated dogs.

She was a member of the Elkridge-Harford Hunt Club and was a volunteer driver for Driving for the Disabled.

She also enjoyed entertaining family and friends, who could expect Bloody Marys and a roast beef dinner on Sunday afternoons.

A memorial service was held yesterday at St. Thomas Garrison Episcopal Church.

In addition to her son, other survivors include two daughters, Susan Voss Shanley of Saratoga Springs and Sallie Bostwick Smithwick of Miami; and five grandchildren.

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