Lucinda Darling, who died so suddenly and sadly from an unknown heart problem at the beginning of July, was an amazing person – full of life, personality, talent and fun.
I first met Lucinda in the mid-1970s when she was in the Pony Club area teams. She was an icon for many members who wanted to follow in her footsteps.
Her love was horses, especially hunting and eventing. She had an infectious sense of fun and enthusiasm, but the welfare of horses and ponies was paramount, as was her determination to instil horsemanship in those she taught. She was an excellent instructor and a fair examiner, and she made it clear to everyone that it was more important to take part than win.
Lucinda’s eventing career began in the Pony Club, when, aged 12, she was second reserve for the horse trials team with her pony Moses. After two fell by the wayside, she was off to the championships, causing some anguish for her father, who had not realised how well she had been competing. But she ended up best placed of the team. This was the first year of many in area teams and trips to championships.
With Swingalong she competed at Badminton twice and another ride, Mr Droops, excelled at Punchestown, but went lame just before Burghley.
Lucinda retired from eventing but continued to compete in dressage, instruct, give demonstrations and examines, and she was particularly popular at the Pony Club young instructors courses at Caradoc.
In the Crawley and Horsham branch each spring at an ‘evening talk’ she would take the group through details of each discipline with many stories. Everyone left full of enthusiasm, ready to tackle Badminton before long – always remembering her final words – you must have breakfast before you do anything on an eventing day!
Lucinda will be missed by all who knew her, but most of all by Patrick, by her daughter Dreda and her family. She still had so much more to give.