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‘He was exceptional’: final farewell to much-loved champion

Lucinda Freedman’s prolific show hunter Mr Mick has been put down at the age of 16.

The gelding, who was known for his incredible gallop, had an stellar career, winning many county line-ups.

His career highlights included standing supreme hunter twice at the Hickstead Derby meeting, a well as taking the amateur lightweight title on two occasions at the Royal International Horse Show. At the hunter championships, he also stood amateur hunter of the year twice and later added the open lightweight hunter title.

Lucinda first spotted Mr Mick (Grassland Spirits x Chancy Chalice) as a six-year-old out hunting with the Tedworth with his breeder Diana Burgess. She liked him so much, she called her to see if she could buy him.

“I thought he would make a great lightweight show hunter and [producer] Richard [Ramsay] and I went to look at him. He didn’t look much like a show horse but we just had that feeling,” Lucinda told H&H.

“He was exceptional,” she added. “I used to event and I took up showing again and I had some lovely horses, but he took me from that stage of being purely an amateur to being at the top with the big boys. Everybody loved him.”

Mr Mick was shown and produced by Lucinda for five years, with Richard producing him for his final two years on the circuit. Despite an phenomenal track record at county shows over the years — with wins including Bath and West, New Forest, Devon, Rutland and Kent — the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) title eluded him.

“He qualified five times but he hated HOYS, inside a small ring he couldn’t do his big gallop but at Hickstead he really shone,” Lucinda said. “I only wish I had taken him to the Great Yorkshire as he would have loved it there.”

Despite being a dream ride, with his jockey being able to pull him up from his “fantastic” gallop “on your little finger” he could have his moments.

“He could be quite sharp, like the good horses often are, and if he had woken up in one of his funny bad moods then you were best to just call it a day,” Lucinda said.

“He did manage to dump me once at HOYS in the side-saddle when he whipped round but fortunately that was the same year Simon Charles fell off in the supreme, so that took the focus off me a bit!”

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After he retired from the show ring, Mr Mick went on to event for a couple of seasons with Hannah Horton, then went to Julia Ratcliffe in Leicestershire to hunt with the Fernie.

He hunted last season but then began to have some soundness problems behind and was put to sleep on Tuesday (17 March).

“We always said when the moment came we would do the right thing, you can’t have them in a field looking miserable when they have been the kingpin all their life, they are an amazing part of our life and deserve to go out with dignity,” Lucinda said.

“We’ve been completely devastated but I’ve had a lot of kind messages — he really was a much, much loved horse with a huge following.”

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