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*NEW* Lynne & Cobbie’s big tour: introducing our huge challenge

Hello, and welcome to my first H&H (or actually any!) blog entry. May I introduce myself — I’m Lynne Deakin and my horse is named Lucky, but is more commonly known as Cobbie (pictured top). You have found us at the start of an exciting adventure, which is to hunt with at least one pack of foxhounds, for each letter of the alphabet, in order from A to Z, around the UK in aid of the Air Ambulance.

I have spent the past six seasons as a joint master of the Warwickshire Hunt. Before that, I had worn many different ‘hats’ within the Warwickshire since moving here from the Holderness 27 years ago with my now ex-husband William Deakin and twin daughters, Stella and Bessie.

Since retiring from my career as a dentist, I’ve been lucky enough to spend most of my time following hounds in some guise or another. During the last season, I was seen more on a quad bike with Barney (Warwickshire Hunt’s falconer for the 2017-18 season) and Floki the Golden Eagle, than being on horseback.

Now to Cobbie. I bought him eight years ago from Liam Filan in Ireland. He came as part of a lorry load to be produced and sold and he was not the easiest! Even to the point where Liam told me send him back, But, there was something about this ugly, highly strung cob that I liked. Years of patience have paid off. He is now a handsome cob — his Arab sire shows and I’m now starting my eighth season hunting him. He has been the most hard-working horse I have ever had.

Cobbie drying off post-bath and ready to go

This year has also been a first for him. Instead of being turned away with the mares for his summer holiday, following a bet he has turned his hoof to competing. The original bet, took the form of “I bet you can’t jump a course of showjumps on him”. This was like waving a red rag in front of a bull! I was straight on the phone to great friend and showjumper Angie Thompson in need of some lessons. To cut the story short, I think Angie was horrified that I’d managed to hunt a horse (who would jump anything out hunting) that could not string two showjumps together. However, she has managed to turn us around so that not only have we taken part in showjumping competitions, but we even managed to complete a riding club one-day event that also included staying in the dressage arena!

Our other summer pursuits include scrumping

Now that you know who we are, back to my hunting challenge. When I came out of the mastership this summer, I felt lost. What was I going to do next season? I always like an aim. Years previously I’d had the idea of hunting the alphabet with my girls but the opportunity never arose. Could I do it now? With more thought, the seed had been sown.

I started to share my idea and as I did so, plans escalated. Why not do it to raise money for the Air Ambulance? Several friends have recently being raising money for the Devon Air Ambulance following an incident on Saunton Sands, which happened during our spring Warwickshire Hunt Riding Club camp to Exmoor.

The Warwickshire Hunt Riding Club (WHRC), was actually the result of another of my ‘light bulb’ moments off the back of taking part in inter-hunt relays and wondering how we could do more competitions as a team while still promoting the Warwickshire Hunt. I thought we could start a riding club, which wasn’t as easy as I thought! But that’s another story…

Back to the A-Z backstory. Twenty-five WHRC members went to Exmoor for a spring camp. This included rides over the moors, hunting with the Devon and Somerset Staghounds and a picnic trip to the beach with our ponies. The ride on the beach at Saunton from Crow Point was stunning and also marked the first time Cobbie had been to the beach. Non-riding members had brought a fantastic picnic, followed by ice cream. Then disaster struck. One member, Laura Negus (nee Gaydon), had a fall into the sea on the ride back. No one knows what happened, but Laura sustained life-threatening head injuries. If it hadn’t been for the quick help of friends, medical emergency teams and the Devon Air Ambulance, things might have turned out different. But she is supporting Cobbie and I on our challenge.

Laura & Murphy. Laura is recovering well thanks to all the emergency services and the Devon Air Ambulance

So there you have it, the idea and the reason behind it and I’m looking forward to keeping you updated with our progress.

Lynne

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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