Equestrianism: Green hit by death of horse

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The Independent Online
LUCINDA GREEN'S hopes of returning to top-flight competition this season took a serious blow when her mount, Up River, died after a heart attack while competing in the Lincolnshire Horse Trials on Sunday.

The 11-year-old bay gelding, owned by Ernie Fenwick, had cleared the 19th cross-country fence when Green became aware that something was wrong with the horse. There was no room to pull up before Up River crashed into the 20th, sending Green over the fence alone. By the time she rejoined the horse he was already dead.

Seventeen years ago, immediately after winning the second of her six Badminton victories, Green suffered the loss of another partner when Wide Awake had a similar fate during his victory lap of honour.

'Wide Awake's last tragic surprise was sprung on Palm Sunday,' Green wrote of his death in her book Four Square. She must have recalled that earlier incident when Up River became another Palm Sunday fatality.

Green has not competed at Badminton since 1988. Up River, who went so well for her at Gatcombe and Burghley last year, was the best horse she has ridden since then and she was looking forward to 'having one last bash' at the top level. She is now left to watch next month's three-day event classic on foot.

Entries for Badminton (6 to 9 May) include six other previous winners: Jane Holderness- Roddam, who won in 1968 and 1978, Richard Walker (1969), Mark Todd (1980), Virginia Leng (1985 and 1989), Rodney Powell (1991) and Mary Thomson (1992). New Zealand's Blyth Tait, the world champion and winner of last year's inaugural Land Rover World Rider Rankings, will also be in contention.

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