Green, Lucinda (1953—)
Green, Lucinda (1953—)
British equestrian, winner of World and European championships. Name variations: Lucinda Prior-Palmer. Born Lucinda Prior-Palmer in London, England, on November 7, 1953; daughter of a cavalry general; married David Green (an Australian Olympic rider), in 1981; children: two.
Won team gold in the European Junior Championships (1971); won Badminton Horse Trials on six different horses: Be Fair (1973), Wideawake (1976), George (1977), Killaire (1979), Regal Realm (1983), and Beagle Bay (1984); was runner up at the Badminton Horse Trials (1978 and 1980); won individual on Be Fair and team runner up in European championships (1975); won individual on George and team winner in European championships (1977); won individual on Regal Realm and was team winner at World championships (1982); was Olympic team captain and won team silver on Regal Realm (1984); won team gold in Burghley's European championships (1985) on Regal Realm.
A specialist in three-day eventing, Lucinda Green took Britain's prestigious Badminton Horse Trials six times on six different horses. "To win it six times against the sort of opposition that exists there suggests a great partnership between an outstanding rider and one or two wonder horses," writes Guy Wathen in Great Horsemen of the World. "To win six times on six different horses implies a truly great rider." Three-day eventing consists of dressage on the first day, cross country which includes steeplechase on the second, and show jumping on the third.
Daughter of a cavalry general, Lucinda Green started riding at age four. On her 15th birthday, she was given her horse Be Fair (whose sire was Fair and Square, winner at Burghley with Sheila Willcox in 1968). Be Fair was a brilliant horse, says Green, responsible for getting her into the world of eventing: she won a team gold at the Junior European championships at Wesel, Germany, in 1971, finished 5th at Badminton in 1972, and was victorious at Badminton in 1973. She also won a team bronze in the European championships at Kiev in 1973. Along with Princess Anne, Janet Hodgson, Sue Hatherly , Green was on the first all-woman team ever selected to represent Britain in the European championships at Lumuhlen, West Germany, in 1975. (In equestrian events, men and women compete against each other and together.) It was also one of Britain's best performances. Green took the individual gold, Princess Anne the silver, and both won team silver. But in the Montreal Olympics in 1976, while jumping over the last fence, with a medal in sight, Be Fair pulled a tendon and spent his last years happily roaming a hunting field.
In 1973, Green had begun working with a tough, workmanlike horse named Wideawake, who had a propensity for skimming the fences or
taking them with him. Atop Wideawake, she won her second Badminton in 1976, but, writes Wathen, as Queen Elizabeth II was presenting Green with her trophy, the horse "stopped in his tracks, reared up, and died." The reason for his sudden death has never been discovered. Then George arrived, but his past preceded him; the horse had fallen five times at major events. Though George clouted several fences on the steeplechase in 1977, he made no mistakes on the cross country. Green had taken her third Badminton.
Though Green had twice broken her collar bone, she was not prepared for a rugged ride in the European championships at Burghley in 1977. During the steeplechase, George began to hang to the left and became entangled in ropes. Green went flying over his head and was dragged by the reins under her horse's legs while he "thundered" on. Somehow Green managed to halt the horse, vault back into the saddle, and finish the course. Amazingly, she had picked up no time penalties. She and George went on to win the championship; then the 12-year-old George retired.
In 1982, on Regal Realm, Green was the individual winner and team winner at the World championships. She was also chosen Olympic team captain at the summer Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984, where she and her team—Virginia Holgate , Ian Stark, Diana Clapham —won the silver in the Team Three-Day Event. Green was also the winner of team gold in Burghley's European championships (1985) on Regal Realm.
Wathen, Guy. Great Horsemen of the World. London: Trafalgar Square, 1990.