Memories of the British Nationals: Theobalds Lovely Linda

With this year’s British Nationals now in sight, we celebrate another brilliant and diverse Anglo Arab. This time, it is the turn of Theobalds Lovely Linda.

Theobalds Lovely Linda

Theobalds Lovely Linda – by Lynne Lidbury
Fate took hold the day that Theobalds Lovely Linda (Radfan x Behave) arrived in my yard. She truly changed the course of my life and I owe her so much.

I was looking for another broodmare to complement my Thoroughbreds when a good friend of mine told me that she knew of a mare and that she would recommend me as someone who would provide a good home. The mare was an Anglo Arab and I must admit that I wasn’t totally sure what an Anglo Arab was, so I reached for my little book of horse breeds, liked what I saw and in December 1984, I took delivery of this lovely mare – unseen – Theobalds Lovely Linda.

Linda’s arrival started an interest in the Arabian breed which has, over the years, grown into a love. Having had a background in eventing, jumping and hunting, I was very interested in the apparent versatility of the Anglo and part-bred Arabian and so, in the spring of 1985, I sent Linda to a very well-bred Thoroughbred stallion, Old Jocus. My intention was to breed a versatile horse and the result of this first attempt was to beomce my first Anglo Arab stallion, Jocari. Linda’s next foal, by another Thoroughbred was, however, nearly to end her life through a mal-presentation at birth and it was only due to the skill of my vet that she pulled through, although we lost the foal.

After several years of being unable to get Linda back in foal, 1990 saw her going on a visit to my local Arabian stallion Fazari (Fari II x Gazella) owned by Jill Scudamore and we had three foals in as many years.

These were wonderful years, meeting new faces, making new friends, competing at the British Nationals at Ascot and being around horses that have since become legends. But fate dealt me quite a twist at this time as I lost Jocari. Inconsolable without my dear stallion, Linda had to breed me another so off she went to Roviris and, as they say, the rest is history.

The product of that mating was Turning Point, who truly has been the horse of my dreams. He has exceeded expectations, winning everything, going everywhere and doing anything. Linda had given me a foal who was to go on to put my Cully Hall Stud truly on the map. Linda only had one more foal after Turning Point, by my Arab stallion Prizmat. She almost seemed to be saying to me: “I’ve done my bit, you’ve got your champion, now I’m retiring!”

Through a chance comment to my friend, I was drawn into the Arabian horse world. I love to show them and ride these horses as I find them incredibly intelligent and so rewarding to train. I have also met so many lovely people through the breed and made some very good friends. I have also had my heart broken. Linda was put to sleep on 15 December 2006 at the age of 28. She had, until then, been in extremely good health, but she suffered an acute bout of colic. I had to let her go with the dignity that she deserved. I will never forget her. Her son and her grandchildren are out there to remind me daily of her.

Theobalds Lovely Linda, British National Champion and Premium Mare, was bred by Mrs MJ Spears, to whom I also owe a debt of gratitude. Thank you.

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This post comes from a series we first ran in The Arabian Magazine in 2005. Called Malvern Calling, the series celebrated British National Champions from Malvern, Ascot and even Kempton Park, and different readers shared their favourite memory from the British Nationals. There is always something special about watching the moment a horse is crowned British National Champion, so please enjoy the memories that will be shared here over the coming month.

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