Former four-star horse put down: ‘A loyal friend, who gave me such fun for 20 years’

  • Lucy Henson’s former four-star horse A Touch Of Frost was put down on Friday, 30 June after a serious bout of laminitis. The 25-year-old belonged to Lucy and her mother Ro Jennings.

    The grey by Edmund Burke — best known as the sire of double Badminton winner Supreme Rock — was 10th at Blenheim CCI3* in 2000 and 19th at Burghley in 2002.

    “We bought ‘Ed’ in the March of his five-year-old year from Shirley and James Kernan, who were then based in Essex, but have since returned to Ireland,” said Lucy. “We originally went to their yard to look at a Strong Gale gelding that didn’t quite fit the bill and then we saw Ed. I loved him but at only 15.2hh I thought he would be too small to go all the way and I was trying to move away from the smaller stamp of horse I was riding at the time, On Spec and Diamond Pedlar.

    “I trawled the country for another six weeks and found nothing and luckily for me Ed hadn’t been sold, so we bought him. Although he was little, he really moved and made a lovely shape over fence, was incredibly neat in front and had that traditional Irish breeding that I love.”

    Lucy knew from the beginning that A Touch Of Frost was very talented, but as a young horse he was very nappy to hack.

    She remembered: “He even managed to get 90 time-faults cross-country in his first pre-novice (now BE100), as he planted himself in the middle of a field when he couldn’t see the next fence! He hunted hard as a five- and six-year-old and that sorted him out, as we nearly sold him as a dressage horse.

    “Apart from that he was easy to train and was the best jumper and most talented event horse in all phases that I ever had. His size was never an issue, even though I was told at the five-year-old Burghley young event horse final that he was too small to make the top. So he proved them wrong!”

    The pair finished sixth in the seven-year-old World Championships at Le Lion d’Angers in 1999 and third in the British intermediate championships at Gatcombe in 2000, as well as their Blenheim and Burghley successes.

    “He could have finished higher, but we had had a fitness setback prior to Burghley, so I couldn’t really put my foot down across country,” said Lucy. “He also brought me back to top level after having my two children, so I will always be grateful to him for that. It was a shame in his later eventing years he had a couple of injuries and I had my children. I always feel we could have achieved more if I had had him earlier in my career.”

    “He had a great temperament, knew he was special and always rose to a challenge but was the softest with my young children and used to put his head into their push chair and just blow on them.”

    Continued below…

    More eventing news:

    A Touch Of Frost retired from eventing in 2008 after having a couple of seasons doing advanced one-days and then spent his final years in the hunting field, either in Leicestershire or leading Lucy’s children on their ponies in Lincolnshire. He finally retired in 2014.

    “I will remember him for being so incredibly naughty and obstinate as a youngster, to giving me the most amazing rides at four- star and making it all feel so easy,” said Lucy. “He was my loyal friend and just gave me such fun for 20 years, and was simply adored by my children. He has left a big hole in our yard.”

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