It’s Lucinda Green’s 61st birthday today – to mark her special day we thought you might enjoy revisiting our exclusive video of the eventing legend riding hurdling star Big Buck’s. Many happy returns to Lucinda from the H&H team!
Six-time Badminton winner Lucinda Green was treated to a ride up the gallops on board National Hunt star Big Buck’s as part of Horse & Hound’s exclusive ‘Lucinda Rides’ feature.
Fans of Big Buck’s will be pleased to hear that since he retired in March 2014 he has settled in well to his new life on the hunting field.
Lucinda says: “So we are in the ‘sweet shop’ of National Hunt racing — The Fortnum and Mason’s part of the sweet shop. This is Big Bucks at Ditchett and it’s such a privilege to be here. Kauto Star is behind me, Denman is over there. How could we be so lucky as to be here?
“It’s boring to say that it’s the most amazing privilege, but when you sit on this horse and walk out of the yard, you feel something really, really special. I know talking to Clifford and Donna, head lad and travelling head girl, they were saying the others aren’t always like this. Denman, for instance, doesn’t walk at all.
“Then they said, ‘you won’t think much of the trot’ and sure enough he trotted for just a few paces, and there isn’t a trot there. But they don’t do much trotting, they just walk and canter.
“He set off up the gallops with Kauto Stone, Kauto Star’s half brother. Donna said ‘just stay with me, just do exactly the same as me’ and I thought ‘Oh god, I’m not that strong. I’m sure I’ll never hold him’, but he just kept the most beautiful pace. Never asked to go faster, never asked to go slower, never lazy, never strong. It’s really steep that hill. I’d forgotten how steep it is.
“Then he starts to make this little whistle and I turned to Donna and said: ‘Is that me or is that you?’. She said: ‘No that’s you, you’re fine.’ This horse who has had all these wonderful wins, and this extraordinary burst of power that he produces, and yet all the time he’s making a little whistle. So he defies a lot of experts on that score.
“The other thing that fascinated me was when I walked into his stable I noticed he’s got a very small eye, which normally means not such a generous horse. There is NOTHING ungenerous about this one! It’s a beautiful eye, it’s just small compared to his 17hh height. He’s a big boy, but he’s so balanced and sensitive. I don’t think I can remember riding a racehorse — I haven’t ridden that many — where he started to cut in on one of the corners, because the gallop is quite twisty, so I put my leg on and straight away he straightened up. Valegro look out!
“He gives good credence to the story that it doesn’t matter how a horse trots. His engine is there is walk and it’s really there in gallop — well all we did is canter because the hill is so steep. He’s lovely walking home, just puts his head out and rolls along. I’m surprised how uncomplicated he is. Having read about the box-walking and the goat he left behind in France, I thought he would be quite a highly strung horse to ride, but he feels so chilled.”