‘He loved life’: final farewell to successful event horse

  • Tributes have been paid to event horse Henton Attorney General, who has died from a heart attack, aged 21.

    The Hanoverian gelding by Anamour, owned by Lizzie Green, New Zealand rider and daughter-in-law of Lucinda Green, died in the field yesterday (6 December) “surrounded by his friends” at Fiona Campbell-Fraser’s yard, where he had spent the last few years, having joined the Onslow family.

    “Frank” was bred in New Zealand by Dave and Bridget Sutton and in 2006 became the ride of then 17-year-old Lizzie, who later bought him. The pair moved up the grades and enjoyed international success including winning the CCI** (now three-star) at Blair Castle, and the Boekelo CCI*** (now four-star) in 2013. They were also placed in a number of grands prix in showjumping and the lady rider of the year class at the New Zealand Horse of the Year Show in 2011.

    In 2016 Scottish rider Rosa Onslow, then 17, was offered the ride on Frank and the pair competed in junior trials and up to three-star level. In May 2017 Rosa and Frank were leading the way after the cross-country in the young rider class at Houghton International but it was discovered the gelding had sustained a ligament injury and he did not complete the event. Following this he retired from eventing, and went to join Fiona, Rosa’s aunt, with whom he competed in dressage and was still competing at advanced medium level four weeks before he died.

    Cindy Onslow, Rosa’s mother, said Frank had the “most unbelievable character”.

    “He was just the happiest, most positive horse you could ever meet. He loved life,” she told H&H. “He had one obsession – Polos. The sight of a packet and he’d do anything, but he was also a real character and didn’t suffer fools gladly. You had to be able to ride, and then he would give you his all.

    “Rosa had the most amazing time with him, and thanks to the leg up he gave her she went on to ride at five-star level. He put her on the map to realising that she could ride at that level.”

    Frank amassed 742 British Eventing points and was known for being talented in all three phases.

    “His dressage was incredible, if you rode well his showjumping was incredible, and his paces would lead a class,” said Cindy. “Even in showing, a judge once rode him and said he was the nicested she had ever ridden.”

    Cindy said Frank was loved by all who met him.

    “We used to get stopped at events all the time with people coming up and asking ‘Is that Frank?’. He was a horse that got under your skin, every day was the best day of his life,” she said. “He wanted to go everywhere and he was such an enthusiast.”

    In a tribute, Lizzie said the then “gangly six-year-old” became her “horse of a lifetime” and thanked his breeders.

    “Frank went on to become a very good jumper, he was so scopey and had an incredible back end. His showjumping in the end was his forte and he gave me a great thrill jumping, placing in several grands prix,” she said.

    “His dressage prowess made him very competitive after the first phase so he taught me about dealing with pressure pretty quickly!”

    Lizzie added it takes a special horse to take a young rider up through the grades and put up with “all the mistakes along the way”.

    “Some he was very forgiving of and others not, I learnt so much. I guess that’s the case when you have a Ferrari as your first horse there will undoubtedly be some dents along the way. Together we experienced the highest highs and lowest lows and travelled all around the world together,” she said.

    “Frank was so lucky in his later life to be adopted by the Onslow family and Fiona Campbell-Fraser. He gave Rosa some great eventing mileage and up until his last days he was still enjoying being ridden and competing with Fi in British Dressage with success. It was so hard to leave him behind in England but they gave him the best life he wanted for nothing.”

    Lizzie said Frank had a “zest for life” that anyone lucky enough to have known him or looked after him will remember for ever.

    “His goofy white face and white eye sticking out over his stable door, he never had an off or grumpy day,” she said. Along our journey there were many many amazing people we met and worked with that played a huge part in our lives and I have to say a big thank you for all that you did for the both of us and for riding our ups and downs with us. My family, coaches, grooms and those that looked after him, thank you.”

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