A RISING young star in carriage driving, Becky Lloyd (14), took on a very unusual equestrian role in West Sussex at Christmas. She teamed up with Hales Farm Blue Boy, owned by Christine Russell, to help keep a bridleway open.
This was a bridleway with a difference- for it runs straight through the public bar at the Fox Inn at Bucks Green, Rudgwick, near Horsham. In order to keep the whole bridleway open, a local horse has to ride along the full length of the facility once a year.
The cobbled path in the bar was once the bridleway between three old cottages on the site where the first part of the pub was built in the late 17th century. A variety of colours, sizes and personalities of equines going through the bar over the years has ranged from one of 17hh which had to duck down to get through the doorways right down to a small Shetland bedecked with tinsel and Christmas finery that was happy to pose for photographs at the public bar.
Hales Farm Blue Boy, know affectionately as Blue, has been ridden through the pub in the past by his owner, Christine Russell, fulfilling the tradition. This year Becky, who lives in Chilworth, over the Surrey border, was chosen to ride him because of her driving connections in the area.
Becky’s mother and horsebox driver, Carol said: “Landlord Simon Godsland is extremely obliging and allows this to take place at lunchtime. Those people having dinner usually have rather a surprise as a horse walks across the front of the bar and stops for a bag of crisps.”
Becky and Blue had a dry run through the pub to practice for the event, before doing the official ride on Christmas Day, with Blue entering the spirit of the occasion wearing special Christmas antlers.
Becky carriage drives with Blue’s owners, Mr and Mr Russell and she has been driving for more than five years. She has been training with Pippa Bassett, Gary Docking, Sarah Howe and Charlotte Adams, thanks to winning the Stella Hancock Driving Scholarship.
For full story and more equestrian news see West Sussex Gazette equestrian page, January 11