Categories: Rolex Three Day
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Interview with Lucinda Fredericks, Winner of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event!
Lucinda Fredericks Lucinda has a three-day event record that spans being a member of Britain’s junior and young rider teams to taking the titles at Windsor and Blair two-star events and Blenheim three-star, often on more than one occasion. But she recognized a good four-star run eluded her.
In her twenties, she was admired for her ability to coax the one-paced Just Jeremy II around a four-star course (he was also scared of water!) and for her bravery in piloting Arctic Goose (he wasn’t scared of anything!).
But in her thirties, the need to make a living and create a home for her impending and then resulting family (Clayton and now three year-old Ellie) meant that while she had an eye for a good young horse, and the ability to produce it, she didn’t have the finances to keep it.
Four-star and World, European and Olympic horses like Springalong, Simply Red, Beacon Hill, Dalliance, Tina’s Gold, Lovell Lass and more were all produced by Lucinda, as was the advanced Azupa Gazelle with whom she was long-listed for the Sydney Olympics – in dressage!
But on meeting and riding Bally Leck Boy, Lucinda decided that was it. Here was a horse so talented she’d do everything in her power to keep him. In under 12 months he had won Punchestown CCI*** securing some serious offers for purchase and, thankfully, the offer of a part-share from Vicki Miller. His situation with Lucinda was secured but fate decided to play another part. After contracting a virus he became a headshaker, developed splints on both forelegs that required surgery, and to this day has such poor foot growth that every set of shoes costs around £200. He’d hardly been out of the stable after Punchestown, was a nightmare to handle and the insurance company refused to carry on, paying out loss of use and leaving it for Lucinda to have him destroyed. But she couldn’t give up and, after much trial and error, Bally is back – albeit so precariously Lucinda hardly dare register or enter him. In 2006, he made a victorious comeback at Somerely Park CCI** and in under three months completed Luhmuhlen CCI****. His future remains uncertain but here is a horse Lucinda rides and looks after with her heart first and head later. Lucinda at Gatcombe 2007 (Photography by Tim Nicholls © 2007)In contrast to the strong-looking but porcelain constructed Bally Leck Boy comes Lucinda’s diminutive mare, Headley Britannia. Originally at the yard as the ride of working pupil Emma Robson, "Little Brit" as she is known, came to be ridden by Lucinda when Emma embarked on a new career. At just 15.2hh, few senior riders would consider her, but few juniors could ride her so Lucinda continued to develop her career.
On winning Blenheim CCI***, part-owners, Katinka and Neil Thorburn stepped in to enable Lucinda to keep the ride. Going on to win the Hickstead Grand Prix, Lucinda started to believe it wouldn’t break Headley Britannia’s spirit to tackle a four-star and so the pair headed for the inaugural event at Luhmuhlen. Little Brit was jumping out of her skin and confidence was high when suddenly she was submerged in water fence. Apparently unscathed but black with mud, the pair returned home with heavy hearts. A week later and Little Brit was almost lost. She’d contracted a virus and was fading fast. But the plucky mare pulled through and the following year was back again, this time cruising round the course to finish third.
However, few in the UK yet regarded Luhmuhlen as a serious event – favouring Badminton and Burghley, and even the WEG selectors decided not to include the pair on their squad in 2006. There was nothing for it but for Lucinda to enter Burghley CCI****. All week Lucinda said she’d pull up if the mare felt over-faced, but on the course the partnership set sail in what has been described as one of the most exemplary displays of cross-country riding of all time. Lucinda achieved her aim. She rode at a four-star well, and she lifted the Land Rover trophy too. Few were not in tears including the huge number of riders that Lucinda has helped over the past.
Always willing to train or offer the odd word of advice or support, Lucinda therefore has a huge band of loyal followers and it is therefore no surprise that she has recently been appointed team trainer to the Dutch three-day event team. Her energy and perfectionism has enabled many riders to achieve beyond their dreams and helped the team create a dream home for her, Clayton and Ellie.
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