Pleasant Valley – Margaret Anne Korda, beloved wife of Michael Korda, died on April 22 after a long illness. Ms. Korda was a former model, the co-author with Mr. Korda of two books, CAT PEOPLE and HORSE HOUSEKEEPING, and a noted horsewoman, whose numerous awards over the years included the United States Combined Training Association’s 1996 Master Novice Rider 1st place, 1997 1st place, 1998 1st place, 1999 1st place, 2002 2nd place, 2003 5th place, 2004 3rd place and 2005 1st place (tie).
Ms. Korda was born in Canterbury, UK, on November 1 1937, the daughter of Paul and Kate Mogford, and started riding at the age of three. “I had been put to bed already,” Ms. Korda recalled in article about her called “Don’t Get in Margaret Korda’s Way” in The Chronicle of the Horse, “but I was allowed to ride this pony in my pajamas and slippers. I was allowed to ride around the garden. It was the first time I ever felt a sense of power because I was higher than other people. I’ve always loved horses.” At the age of nineteen she went to what was then the Colony and Protectorate of Kenya in search of adventure, and married Donald Williams a British police official in Nyeri. On her return to Britain two years later she met and was later remarried to Magnum photographer Burt Glinn, and frequently worked as his model, appearing on the cover of many magazines such as the Ladies’ Home Journal.
Ms. Korda and her third husband Michael Korda met while riding on the bridle path in New York’s Central Park—for months they trotted their horses around the reservoir in opposite directions until at last they rode around it in the same direction. For some years they kept their horses in what was then the only remaining livery stable in Manhattan, and eventually bought a farm in Pleasant Valley, Duchess County, New York, where Margaret rebuilt the stable to her own design, leveled the ground to create paddocks and an indoor riding ring, and eventually laid out a full training course with over forty fences and jumps, including a full water jump. Here she not only exercised and trained her own horses daily, but gave a yearly training event for over twenty years which drew over one-hundred fifty riders and horses at three levels, Baby Novice, Novice and Training, as well as putting on riding clinics given by such leading international eventers as Mark Weissbecker, in addition to competing in many major events on the east coast herself. She competed successfully well into her sixties, and in 1998 decided to remain at the Novice and Training levels. “People used to ask me why I just ride novice and training, but I’m 60 years old and I’m comfortable with it. . . I’m smart enough in the past few years not to go out and do something that’s going to hurt me.” On the other hand, she recognized her own fierce competitive spirit as a rider: “When I make up my mind to do something,” she said, “I really go at it.”
Ms. Korda is survived by her husband Michael, by her stepson Christopher and by her goddaughter Tamzin Blinkhorn. A funeral service for her all be held at , 1605 Main Street, Pleasant Valley, N. Y. on Friday, April 28, between five and eight o’clock.
Margaret’s illness was made bearable by the kind and compassionate care of Hudson Valley Hospice, to which contributions may be made in her memory.