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World famous East Anglian horse rider to honour late husband’s memory with special event

PUBLISHED: 11:40 06 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:04 06 March 2020

Lord and Lady Loch in Stoke by Clare, at the Equitation Centre in April 1980.  Picture: ROGER NEWLIN GOODE

Lord and Lady Loch in Stoke by Clare, at the Equitation Centre in April 1980. Picture: ROGER NEWLIN GOODE

ROGER NEWLIN GOODE

A world famous riding instructor will be returning to the Suffolk riding school she founded with her late husband for a special demonstration event in his honour.

Sylvia Loch riding her Lusitano stallion named Prazer. Picture: LESLEY SKIPPERSylvia Loch riding her Lusitano stallion named Prazer. Picture: LESLEY SKIPPER

Sir Henry Loch and his wife Sylvia founded the Stoke by Clare Equestrian Centre, which drew pupils from around the world, in 1979 after moving to Suffolk from Portugal with their 12 Lusitano horses.

The couple, who met on the Algarve Coast, where Lord Henry Loch was teaching riding after his many years in the British cavalry, moved to his family home at Stoke College.

They were the first to introduce the specialist Portuguese horses, famed for their beautiful looks, gymnastic ability and temperament. The breed is often used in Olympic equestrian events and for traditional mounted bullfighting in Portugal.

They planned to teach others the art of riding these beautiful animals.

Lord Loch in Stoke by Clare, riding a Lusitano at the Equitation Centre in April 1980.  Picture: ROGER NEWLIN GOODELord Loch in Stoke by Clare, riding a Lusitano at the Equitation Centre in April 1980. Picture: ROGER NEWLIN GOODE

However, Lord Loch died suddenly just four years after founding the school, leaving his wife and their newborn baby.

"It was his dream but all of a sudden he had a stroke and I was left alone with our baby daughter to run it by myself," Sylvia recalled.

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"I tried to keep it going but it was a big riding school and he was the figure head, it was fine when both of us were there to run it but on my own it was just too much to bear."

Lord and Lady Loch in Stoke by Clare, at the Equitation Centre in April 1980.  Picture: ROGER NEWLIN GOODELord and Lady Loch in Stoke by Clare, at the Equitation Centre in April 1980. Picture: ROGER NEWLIN GOODE

After she sold the school, Sylvia moved to Sudbury where she still lives, teaching private lessons on her prize stallion Prazer.

But now she will return to the Stoke by Clare Equestrian Centre, near Haverhill, to demonstrate the fine art of riding the Lusitano.

"I will be returning to the school for the first time in 35 years and it is quite moving the thought of it.

"As I still live nearby I thought it would be lovely to be there again - many people have told me that Henry's spirit will be there watching."

Sylvia, who is still known by many as Lady Loch, was awarded an Order of Merit two years ago by the Portuguese President in recognition of her work.

The event is to be held on Sunday, March 29 from 2pm to 5pm and will involve a dressage demonstration and a Q&A.

Tickets can be purchased online here.


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