Great-grandfather marks his 90th birthday by leading the field in style

  • A great-grandfather marked his 90th birthday in style, by leading the field over the first fence of the morning’s autumn hunting.

    Henry Jordan was joined by a granddaughter and a great-niece to celebrate the occasion, out with the North Cotswold hunt on 25 October.

    Mr Jordan’s daughter Melanie Bent told H&H he had always hunted and ridden, including winning point-to-points.

    “He had the ambition, to get to his 90th and hunt on his birthday, and he did it,” Mrs Bent said.

    “It was a worry whether it would go ahead, with Covid, but it happened. Everyone was saying it was amazing but to us, it seems normal that he’d carry on riding, as he’s so fit and well.”

    Mr Jordan is from an old farming family, and Mrs Bent said he remembers first following hounds aged nine. He was given his first hunting coat aged 15, at a time when hunt buttons were earned for good behaviour. His best days out were with the renowned Captain Brian Fanshawe, and latterly Nigel Peel.

    He no longer has his own horse, so his family secured him a hireling for the day.

    “I took Dad over to see what horse would be suitable and the owner, who used to be a very successful point-to-pointer herself, looked at me a bit as if to say ‘is this going to be ok?’,” Mrs Bent said.

    “He tried one of the horses and thought it was too lazy; he wanted something that would jump. In the end, my daughter rode the so-called lazy one, which still went like stink, and he rode Colonel, an amazing horse known for jumping big hedges, who did him well.”

    Mrs Bent said her father had wanted to lead the field over the first fence, which he did, leading a younger rider to comment on the fact he had to jump the rails, as the 90-year-old birthday boy had led the way.

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    “He had a very good day, they kept up or in front all morning,” Mrs Bent said. “Last year, he’d been saying maybe that would be it, but now he’s talking about going again.”

    Mr Jordan, who has been married to Jane for 66 years, is a big racing fan, who also rides out and has two allotments.

    Asked for his secret to long life he said: “Good food, good health, good Lord and good friends.”

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