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Sweet harmony

PUBLISHED: 12:06 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:26 20 February 2013

Sweet harmony

Sweet harmony

Britain's most famous champion equestrian talks to Sarah Peters about her riding career, her love of horses and living in Hampshire

Lucinda Green is undeniably the finest horsewomen of her generation. She is the only rider to ever have won the Badminton Horse Trials a record six times on six different horses. She first represented her country in 1973 in the European Championships but her love of all things equestrian began when she first rode a pony aged four. Since then, she has competed all over the world winning Olympic, World and European Championship medals.
Lucinda has lived in Hampshire all her life, in the tiny village of Appleshaw. She was born in November 1953 in Andover and her current house is just around the corner from her childhood home. Has she really never had any desires to move away? Not at all, I love living in Appleshaw. I would live nowhere else in the world. The village name means apple wood and its a very pretty place to come home to, she says.


At home
Appleshaw dates back hundreds of years. Famous for its avenues of walnut trees, the village is situated near the borders of Wiltshire and is only about 700 acres in size. Its not mentioned by name in the Doomsday Book, but it was understood to be part of the lands belonging to Hugh de Port in Cholderton.
The only thing the village lacks, according to Lucinda, is a village shop. Sadly its gone the way of so many village shops. The pub is still here, The Walnut Tree, and the lovely church. There are lots of unique buildings in the village; the Old Rectory is particularly stunning.
Lucindas childhood was spent in a beautiful Georgian building: two houses knocked into one family home. When her father bought the houses just after the War, he paid 5,000 for them both.
He knocked them together and it was a lovely house to grow-up in. The family sold one of them a few years ago for 2.3 million so that was a great investment!


Growing up
Lucindas work takes her all over the world. She runs clinics for a new generation of horse-riders, so she has seen some amazing places. I enjoy travelling, but after a while I long to come home. I really look forward to the familiar comfortable surroundings I know so well. So many people move away from their home village; I have yet to go.
Lucindas first horse, Be Fair, was bought from Horse and Hound magazine when she was 15. It cost 525. She was a dedicated rider from the very start and every spare minute was spent with horses.
My parents always supported and encouraged me, but they made it clear that the moment I wanted to give up, I should, without feeling I owed them anything. They never made me feel trapped and that was very important to me.
It seems Lucindas parents were the very antithesis of pushy parents. It was because of them that I did so well. I couldnt have borne the pressure if they had been pushy, she says.


Bridle ways
I wanted to ride at every opportunity. she reminisces. One of my favourite rides is up to the Bronze Age Fortress and around the Chutes near the Hampshire/ Wiltshire borders its beautiful countryside. I still go there now. Its so peaceful although only the local farmers and I are lucky enough to see it!
Thinking back to the television footage of Lucinda throughout her career, riding across dangerous terrain, pushing herself and her horse to the limits, I suggest she is a brave rider. But she corrects me: No, I dont think I am particularly brave. Im not a wimp, I grant you, but youd never catch me parachuting or doing the Cresta Run. Im certainly frightened of a lot of things.
What you see when you watch me riding is the incredible belief I have in my horses. If I didnt have that complete confidence, you wouldnt see me near any fence. You develop that trust over quite a long period of time. By the time a competition comes around Ive formed a strong partnership with the horse.
Developing that harmony with a horse can take years. With some horses, it never happens.
I was lucky with my horses, because they trusted me and I trusted them. But, it has to be mutual otherwise theyll simply not do anything for you its as simple as that.


In the trophy cabinet
1987
Member of British Team at World Championships at Luhmuhlen
1986
1st at Boekelo
1985
Team gold medal at the European Championships at Burghley
1984
Team silver at Los Angeles
Olympic Games
6th Individually at Los Angeles Olympic Games
1st Badminton Horse Trials
(Beagle Bay)
1983
1st Badminton Horse Trials
(Regal Realm)
Team silver at European
Championships in Switzerland
Individual silver at European Championships in Switzerland
1982
World Champion of Eventing
Team gold at World Championships at Luhmuhlen
1981
1st place Burghley Horse Trials (Beagle Bay)
1980
7th place individually at Alternative Olympics in Fontainbleau
1st Melbourne-Novice and Open Classes on borrowed horses
1979
1st Badminton Horse Trials (Killaire)
1977
1st Badminton Horse Trials (George)
1st European Championship (George)
1st Burghley Horse Trials (George)
1976
1st Badminton Horse Trials (Wideawake)
Member of British Team at Montreal Olympics (Be Fair)
1975
1st European Championship (Be Fair)
1973
1st Badminton Horse Trials (Be Fair)
Member of British Team at Kiev

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