All about showing and cob expert Lynn Russell

By: Horse Deals

All about showing and cob expert  Lynn Russell
All about showing and cob expert Lynn Russell

Every day, producer Lynn Russell must wake up and utter the words: "It’s showtime."

If she isn’t travelling to or from a show, Lynn will probably running a clinic, taking a masterclass or buying and selling the next generation of champions.

Lynn was born in Surrey into a "very non-horsey" family. Her parents and brother had no interest in anything equine or canine and, worse still, Lynn’s stepsister was allergic to horses.

Despite her father trying to persuade her otherwise, Lynn helped out at the local riding school, mucking in and out in return for a free ride, and at the age of 16, became the proud owner of her first horse.  "I bought the biggest horse I could afford — she was very cheap," says Lynn.

The Russian-bred chestnut mare had proved too tricky for her previous owners and was also too much for Lynn, so was part-exchanged for a safer model.

The little Irish mare Cusheen introduced Lynn to hunting and after taking a job with a family, Lynn spent many happy hours following hounds. "I worked for a couple and their hunting-mad children, and when the kids were at boarding school I used to hunt the ponies with the Vale of Aylesbury and Aldenham Harriers," she explains. "I was an absolute lunatic and if hounds came close to the stables, I’d change ponies and stay out until dusk."

After a few years out of horses, Lynn had returned to the saddle and bought a four-year-old with show jumping potential.  "Because Current Affair was too young to affiliate, I kept him to local shows," says Lynn, who entered the open working hunter instead of the novice jumping at Goring and District Riding Club show.  "Roy Trigg was judging and we jumped clear and won. Roy said I had a nice horse and should consider showing him in small hunter classes," she recalls.

Lynn moved to West Sussex to live with her partner, Dave and bought a five-year-old chocolate brown cob for £625. Current Plum proved the catalyst for Lynn’s renowned ability to find good horses. He qualified for HOYS and Lynn, who already spent lots of time "skiving off work", decided to go into dealing and producing full time. "As cobs were more affordable then, I could pick them up at local markets. I used to love going to Guildford and everything took off from there," says. Lynn.

The move to her current Surrey base allowed Lynn to expand her operation and Cosmic started her run of cobs named after planets. "He was the cob that made me," explains Lynn, who now sources the majority of horses in Ireland and possesses an eye that can appreciate a star in the rough. "I’ve never bought a made horse and I do like to bring out at least one fresh face every year," she says.

Nor is Lynn’s expertise confined to cobs. One of her most successful rides was the lightweight hunter Wishful Thinking, while she won the 2007 SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse championship with Lin D’Estruval, given to her on a week’s trial by eventer Tina Cook.

Lynn has enjoyed many memorable career highlights, but among the favourites was winning Royal Windsor’s £3,000 All England Championship riding Polaris side-saddle.

Facilities at Durfold Farm include a large outdoor school, indoor barn with 12 stables, 10 stalls, a small indoor school and 34 acres of paddocks.  "The horses are out as much as possible all-year round. Some 99% live out 24/7 and are much happier"