Farewell to Lulu Rochford

  • Lulu Rochford, who died on January 14, aged 86, was — with Pat Smythe — one of the first women permitted to jump in the King George V Gold Cup in 1948.

    Country Life described their admission to the class as a “revolution”, but reported: “Alas for feminist hopes! Neither completed the course.”

    Instead, Harry Llewellyn’s great Foxhunter won the cup on his first attempt.

    Lulu was taught to ride by an old soldier, who gave her the stylishness contemporaries admired.

    Her best known showjumper was LadyBird, a mare as small and determined as she was.

    Lulu showjumped, hunter-trialled and judged throughout her life, and owned racehorses.

    She was a Chartered Physiotherapist but switched to treating horses, when that science was in its infancy, and was valued by her hunting and racing clients for her skill in diagnosis.

    But her great love was hunting. She hunted into her mid-seventies with her beloved Worcestershire hunt and many friends from the Worcesters gathered at her funeral service in Tenbury Wells to hear their huntsman blow Lulu to her rest.

    This article was first published in Horse & Hound (18 February, ’10)

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