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
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'