32-year-old hunting mare going strong in her 27th season

  • The owner of a 32-year-old mare who is in her 27th season of hunting says there are no plans to retire her yet as the horse still loves the sport.

    Cornwall-based Ann Sheldrake bred and produced Queenie and has been driving her in a carriage during the summer and hunting in the winter ever since.

    The 16hh mare, who is “almost 3/4 Welsh cob and 1/4 thoroughbred”, is still being driven and provides a carriage service at weddings.

    “She’s wonderful,” said 77-year-old Mrs Sheldrake, who is accompanied out with the South Tetcott Hunt by husband Roy, 75, and his 26-year-old mare Sheedy.

    “She’s very gentle; my 10-month-old granddaughter sits on her back and plays with her mane, and my grandson learned to ride on her.

    “I teach driving with her too; we’ve had a lot to do with the Riding for the Disabled Association and she’s helped raise £4,000 for the Happy Landings driving for the disabled group.”

    Mrs Sheldrake said Queenie, who has enjoyed competitive success with the British Driving Society, is “easy” to hunt, but can “get a bit fed up with the standing around”.

    “If I’m standing there with a pasty in one hand and a drink in the other, she will suddenly head back to the trailer!” she said.

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    “We used to be among the ‘thrusters’ with the Chiddingfold, Leconfield & Cowdray Hunt, where I was secretary too, and she’s still jumping. She jumped a line of six fences at last year’s opening meet and still would, she loves it all.

    “I’ve got no plans to retire her yet; she’d fall away if I did.”

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