Through the stable door – Lucy Henson

  • Lucy Henson’s best known horse was Diamond Pedlar, with whom she finished 14th at the European Championships in 1995 and was reserve for the Atlanta Olympics.

    Since then, 29-year-old Lucy (nee Jennings) has married Gatcombe director Tim Henson and moved from Sussex to the Henson family farm near Torksey in Lincolnshire.

    She introduces us to her top horse A Touch of Frost and a youngster, Peace And Quiet

    Touch Of Frost

    Owners: Ro Jennings and Caroline Elliot of Fairfax Interiors

    Statistics: 8yo, 16hh, grey gelding

    Breeding: By Edmund Burke out of an Irish sports horse mare

    Competition record: 3rd British Intermediate Championships at Gatcombe, 6th Le Lion d’Angers, 1999; 1st Belton advanced; 3rd Gatcombe advanced, 3rd Thirlestane advanced 2000. Entered for Blenheim

    Character:Christened A Touch Of Frost after the TV detective series, Lucy believes that “Ed”, as he is known around the yard, has all the qualities to make a top horse.

    “He’s probably the best that I’ve ever had,” she says. “He’s more talented than Diamond Pedlar, who was such a trier.

    Lucy bought Ed as a five-year-old from Shirley Kernan and says that the horse is typically Irish. “I often think he’s an Irish version of Arthur Daley, a real wheeler-dealer. He’s pushy and arrogant, yet he hasn’t got a bad bone in his body; he’s a lovely horse. It’s just that he likes to get his own way.”

    Lucy says it has taken years to find another horse like Diamond Pedlar, who was tragically killed in a car accident, and she is anxious to get everything right with Ed. “I’m trying to take him slowly up the ranks and I’m being quite careful, as it has taken me quite a long time to get a good one.”

    RoutineEd is worked six days a week and gallops every third or fourth day, depending on events. If there is time, Lucy takes him to flat trainer Derek Shaw’s gallops near Newark, Nottinghamshire.

    For schooling, Ed finds himself inthe seven-acre set-aside field with its rotovated natural sand school four times a week.

    “He has to have short, sharp bursts otherwise he gets quite bored, so we often have a school then a hack, or a school then a jump or a lunge. I have to keep on top of the schooling because he’s quite quirky. The fitter he gets the easier he is, but at the start of the season he can be sharp.”

    Feed: Ed gets two feeds of the same size every day. “I have to be careful that I don’t overfeedhim, as one nut too many would blow his brains!”

    His diet consists of Dengie Hi-Fi, Spillers HDF Sports Cubes and a few additives, including an iron supplement called Propel which is made by Equine America.

    “HDF is great, and I trust Spillersimmensely.”

    Peace and QuietOwner: Ro Jennings and Susan Bowser

    Statistics: 5yo, 16.1hh, bay gelding

    Breeding: Irish-bred by Nero Astaire

    Competition record: Three pre-novice runs, including 2nd at Oving; qualified for the Burghley Young Event Horse final and will do more pre-novice events before tackling two novices at the end of the season. Over the winter he will be show jumped and hunted with the Brocklesby and Quorn

    Bailey’s competition name Peace And Quiet, however, comes from a favourite saying used by part-owner Susan Bowser’s late husband: “I’m never going to get a moment’s peace and quiet until you get another horse”!

    Bailey was purchased in March 2000, coming, like Ed, from Shirley Kernan as a five-year-old. He is another horse for whom Lucy has high hopes. “I think he’s quite talented, but we’ll wait and see. With some horses, you feel they have something from the start and he definitely does.”

    So far,Bailey has only done three pre-novice competitions. “He had a month off trotting round the lanes and going hunting when I broke my collarbone and rib,” says Lucy. “I hunt all mine, unless they’re too busy or too strong, as I love it so much.”


    “He’s obviously very green, but hes a typical Irish horse in that he learns quickly. He only went cross-country schooling twice before tackling his first event. “Bailey thinks he knows best – up to a point. Then he gives up and says: ‘OK, maybe you know best after all.’

    If he was a person he’d be just like a naughty school boy with socks around his ankles and his cap on back to front, but he’d get away with it because he’s cheeky, not naughty.”

    Routine: Because he’s five, Lucy says that she tends to have training “blitzes” with Bailey. “Usually he has three to four days’ work a week and then a couple of days off. Basically, he does a bit of everything and he went to the gallops for the first time the other day.

    “I tend to really work on the youngsters over the winter when I take them hunting and show jumping. The serious work begins between the age of five and six. I always take my time because I want my horses to still be going when they are13 or 14. They are all ridden in snaffles, as I’m quite a stickler for doing it properly in the first place.”

    Feed Bailey’s diet is much the same as Ed’s – two feeds a day of Dengie Hi-Fi and Spillers HDF cubes.

    “He doesn’t get toomuch, though, because he can get quite fat. I have never seen a horse eat quite so much hay as he does.” Like Lucy’s other horses, Bailey gets salt and oil and is treated with Keratex, a foot supplement.

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