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‘He was the big brother I never had’ — rider’s poignant memories of late mentor who helped shape her career

“I think I was about 18 and I was riding in one of my first horse worker classes at Moreton-in-Marsh show,” reminisces top working hunter rider Katy Green when asked when she first met her mentor, the much-loved showing producer Rory Gilsenan.

The equestrian world was left heartbroken when Rory sadly passed away in April 2019 after battling an aggressive brain tumour.

“The commentator came up to me to ask some details about my horse,” continues Katy, in her exclusive interview with Horse & Hound. “Rory made a rude joke which sent everyone into hysterics. After the class he came over and gave me a big hug; that was our relationship from day one.”

Warwickshire-based Katy is known for her successful string of working hunter horses who have scooped accolade at all major shows including the Royal International and Royal Windsor to name a few.

Katy and Rory became a formidable team in 2016 when she fell pregnant with her son and asked Rory to take on her rides for the season.

By October their form book included a host of accolades including both top spots in the working hunter championship at Royal Windsor with Vulcanite (Aoife) and I’m A Diamond (Jack), respectively. Rory also rode Aoife to stand second at HOYS in October.

Katy continues: “In January 2016, I rang Rory and said I had a proposition for him. In true Rory fashion he shouted ‘f**k me Greeny, you’re either up the duff or injured’. We’d go here and there in the lorry, Rory would ride and I’d drive. He didn’t charge me once. He was phenomenal, the big brother I never had. I still have his voice in my head saying ‘will you ride that bloody corner properly and stop checking it’.”

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“He took the mickey out of me and always gave me s**t for not selling my horses, but he was awesome and always looked out for me. I’d often go over to his yard for a jumping lesson and would spend about three minutes riding and the rest of the time we’d drink tea and laugh. Before a championship he’d say ‘right Greeny, let’s do this; I’m going to beat you today’ and he usually would. He had a magical gift with horses; he could make anything look good.

“I want to fight for our working hunter scene like Rory did. Whether you were a professional or a local rider, he wanted everyone to enjoy it. He’ll be very sorely missed this season.”

Don’t miss the exclusive interview with Katy Green in this week’s issue of Horse & Houmd magazine out now (dated 8 January 2021).

Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade to access our H&H Plus online service which brings you breaking news as it happens as well as other benefits.

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