Caroline Pratt

Respected international three-day event rider

Even as a small child, the international three-day event rider Caroline Pratt knew that she would eventually want to work with horses.



Caroline Pratt, three-day event rider: born Lound, Nottinghamshire 23 June 1962; died Peterborough, Cambridgeshire 4 September 2004.



Even as a small child, the international three-day event rider Caroline Pratt knew that she would eventually want to work with horses.

The conviction grew when, at the age of seven, she persuaded her non-horsy parents to buy her a pony. She was not, however, allowed to neglect her education while she pursued her goal. Her two brothers and her sister were high-fliers at school and she struggled in vain to keep up with them. Her father, Derek Pratt, who was an architect, insisted that she took A-levels at college before she was allowed to begin work as a girl groom at Rodger Wright's dealing yard near Retford in Nottinghamshire.

Fortunately, Caroline Pratt was never one to balk at hard work or long hours. Like her mother, Angela, who grew fruit and vegetables for the family and later took B&B guests at her home in the Lake District, she was practical and unassuming.

She rode a variety of horses at Wright's yard (including "the good, the bad and the ugly") and was delighted when she was eventually allowed to compete. There was, however, one major drawback in working for a dealer: every horse in the yard was for sale and the best of them were inevitably snapped up.

After 15 years with Wright, Pratt jumped at the opportunity of working for Dick and Frances Kinsey at their Tetton Hall home near Middlewich in Cheshire, later describing herself as "the luckiest person on earth". The Kinseys, who were "wonderful owners and great supporters", had no intention of selling their best horses to anyone.

One of her first tasks when she arrived at Tetton Hall in 1995 was to pick out the most promising horses from a field full of youngsters. Primitive Control, a four-year-old who had just been backed, stood out because of his impressive movement. This was to be one of the two horses she rode when she first competed at Badminton in 2000 and he exceeded all her expectations by finishing in sixth place. Her one sadness was that her father had died the previous year and was not there to enjoy her success.

As a result of her sixth place, Pratt received the handsome Laurence Rook Trophy as the highest-placed British rider who had not previously completed Badminton and, to her astonishment, she was long-listed for the Sydney Olympics. She did not get on the Olympic squad, but the following year she was chosen to compete as an individual rider in the 2001 European Three-Day Event Championships at Pau in France, where she finished in 26th place.

Having been seventh at Burghley last year on Primitive Control, as well as finishing 10th on the 2003 British Event Riders Rankings, she was long-listed for this year's Athens Olympics and might well have been part of the team but for the wealth of talent available to the selectors. As one of the 14 "élite" riders on the World Class Performance squad, she greatly appreciated the opportunity to receive training from top professionals - among them the Great Britain team manager, Yogi Breisner.

Pratt's death as the result of a horrible fall last Saturday at Burghley Horse Trials, where Dick Kinsey's 12-year-old Primitive Streak fell on her two fences from home, sent shock waves through the eventing world. She was known and esteemed by all the leading riders, as was evident when Britain's five medallists from this year's Athens Olympics formed a sombre line-up in the arena at Burghley as they joined a one-minute silence in her memory. They knew her as a dear friend as well as a respected fellow competitor.

Genevieve Murphy

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Recruitment Genius: PA

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A PA is required to join a leading provider of...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness