Carol Lavell, a successful American Olympic dressage team rider and medalist, passed away at the age of 79 on March 27, 2023. One of her notable horses was Better and Better, whom she trained to the preliminary 3-day level before selling to the Marra family for Michael J Plumb to ride. Lavell achieved recognition for her equestrian skills, being named the U.S. Olympic Committee Female Equestrian Athlete of the Year in both 1990 and 1992 and winning the USET Whitney Stone Cup. Continue reading to know more about Carol Lavell’s life, career, and the legacy she left behind.
Who was Carol Lavell? Learn more about her
Carol Lavell, a successful equestrian, began her career in eventing and achieved recognition with her thoroughbred horse, Better and Better. Lavell trained the horse to the preliminary 3-day level before selling him to Michael J Plumb to compete at the 1976 Olympics, where they won team gold and individual silver medals. Later in her career, Lavell competed with a new horse, Much Ado, whom she trained from the training level to the Grand Prix. Together, they won team gold at the 2003 Pan American Games, despite challenging weather conditions during their team test. Lavell and Much Ado also participated in various other events before retiring together in 2008.
Apart from her accomplishments in competition, Lavell gave back to the sport by establishing the Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize Fund in memory of her mother and in honor of her father, a well-known investment banker. The fund provides financial support to riders with plans to reach and excel at elite, international standards of high-performance dressage. Since its creation in 2009, the Prize Fund has awarded 21 grants totaling $525,000 to support the U.S. high-performance teams.
Following her retirement, Lavell lived with her husband, Tom Lavell, in Loxahatchee, Florida. Although Tom passed away in 2020, Carol’s legacy endures through her contributions to the sport of dressage and the riders who benefit from the Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize Fund.
How did Carol Lavell die? What was her cause of death?
Carol Lavell, a medal-winning American Olympic dressage team rider, passed away at the age of 79 on March 27, 2023. Her family has not disclosed the cause of her death. Carol had been fighting Alzheimer’s disease for some time before her passing. Following the news of her death, USA Dressage expressed condolences to Carol Lavell’s family and friends.
Tributes pour in for Carol Lavell
Lehua Custer expressed her sorrow over Carol Lavell’s death through a Facebook post. She thanked Lavell for her support through The Dressage Foundation and acknowledged that she would not be where she is now without Lavell’s high-performance grant. Custer was grateful to have met Lavell and shared her story with her. She hoped that Lavell was riding GP on Gifted and her other favorite horses in heaven.
Kim Walnes expressed her admiration for Carol Lavell in a recent Facebook post, mourning the loss of another equestrian hero. Walnes admired Lavell’s skills as a trainer and as a person. Lavell’s horse, Gifted, was named appropriately as they rose to great heights together. Walnes considered their partnership as legendary and expressed how much she looked up to Lavell.
Many people have been severely affected by Carol Lavell’s death, and her absence will be felt keenly. We send our sympathies and support to her family, friends, coworkers, and the community during this difficult time.
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Who is Carol Lavell?
Carol Lavell was a successful equestrian who achieved recognition with her horse Better and Better, won gold and silver medals at the 1976 Olympics, and established the Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize Fund to support high-performance dressage riders, among other accomplishments.
How did Carol Lavell die?
The cause of Carol Lavell’s death has not been disclosed, but she had been battling Alzheimer’s disease before passing away at the age of 79 on March 27, 2023.