There is not a racing yard in the country that does not dream of having one; the person who has been present for so many years that their presence and character helps to shape the very nature and fabric of the yard.
The person whose service to many outside the yard would go unnoticed, but to the team on the inside, at the coal face in the rain, hail or sunshine, is present striving tirelessly for hours upon end to make sure the boring, mundane and everyday vital chores and tasks are completed.
I believe the term is ‘worth their weight in gold’ and my god Rose Loxton was just that.
On Friday 14th August, having battled with illness for just under two years, the only thing that could have possibly beaten Rose finally did and, in the end as much as it hurt those who loved her most, it was probably a relief that one of life’s old fashioned bloody good eggs would suffer no more.
Rose worked for Paul for many years, latterly in the top yard essentially becoming Clifford’s right arm, bandaging cuts and nicks, ensuring horses were rugged correctly, keeping the team of staff of our top yard in check, providing them with just enough rope that they could learn and enhance their skills in horsemanship, but never too much that they’d get anything wrong.
Rose was professional to the core but made sure humour and a bit of fun was never too far away. A temper was also available when required and proved remarkably effective on occasions.
Through the very golden years of Paul’s training career when Kauto Star and Big Buck’s ruled their respective roosts, Rose was an integral part of their stories, in particular that freakishly talented big staying hurdle mate of hers, Buck’s who she probably ended up spending more time with than her loving husband Sam.
Rose did everything with Buck’s; she travelled with him, rode him, led him up, mucked him out, galloped him and probably give Ruby a fair idea of what to do on his back too!
Although I was very young when he was rewriting just about every record possible, I always remembered the stress, worry and panic she put herself through when he was racing and the sheer joy she got from his unique brilliance.
It was perhaps quite fitting that as Kauto Star won his last two Grade Ones at Haydock in the Betfair Chase and at Kempton in the King George where the two roofs were removed such was the crowd’s ecstasy, there alongside the old champions’ side was Rose, aware of how special a horse he was but with absolutely no notion how incredible she was.
You see with Rose it was not just the full-time role at Paul’s she was undertaking – no, no a job working twelve and a half days a fortnight while being the rock of a family, a mother, a wife, and a grandmother was not nearly enough for Rose.
Somewhere in the great mystery of time she also managed to fit in training umpteen point to point winners with some of Paul’s older horses that had fallen out of love with the game, grand old timers who had lost their fire a little.
Well, give Rose six months with them in her back garden on the hills of Bruton and she made them sing. Alongside her husband Sam, weekends were filled with a trip to Larkhill, Chipley Park or Charlton Horethorne adding another trophy to the collection and she loved it.
Her highlight as Rose Loxton the trainer came, without doubt, courtesy of Caid Du Berlais who danced to victory in consecutive Punchestown Champion Hunter chases, although what got her started in the point to point field was her partnership with Paul’s daughter Megan who, in one season, won just about every lady riders’ race across the land.I know Paul and Meg will always be grateful to her for what she did in those early days of Meg’s riding career.
In 2018 when Rose suffered a horror fall off one of her pointers, she broke enough bones to just about stop a normal person dead in their tracks, but it was that fall which ironically made her aware of her illness.
Throughout everything though, every bit of shit she had to go through and at times there has been untold amounts, there was never a moan, never a hint of sympathy demanded, she faced her illness like she did everything, with humour, determination, and a work ethic that very few people could even begin to imagine let alone match.
When she started riding out again it was almost beyond belief that someone could possibly be so tough, but ride out she did and yet more rules about the recovery of someone who had broken most of the bones in their body while battling a life threatening illness were ripped up. Slow down and take things easy? No chance, Rose lived life to the absolute maximum and that it what I most respect her for.
She leaves behind a loving and wonderful family that has been shaped by her and, while it will be hard for them in the coming days and months, they will move forward and keep on going knowing that Rose would not have it any other way.
If you have loved racing over the past 20 years and enjoyed any of Paul’s horses lighting up a winter’s Saturday, then you too have been touched by her as you can bet your bottom dollar whether that horse was winning a Hennessey or Tingle Creek, Rose will have fed him lunch and cared for him over those years.
Rose is a person so ingrained in all of our lives at Ditcheat it will be tough coming to terms with the fact she is gone, her quick wit, good fun, sharp temper and incredible love for horses will no longer be enjoyed by us, the people so lucky to have had her in our lives.
Lucky? Without doubt, but we are grateful too as I am damn sure they do not make too many like Rose anymore.
The last few weeks have been incredibly tough for Rose as the fight became too much for even a mountain of a woman like her to handle, she battled and battled but gut wrenchingly her last chapter is now written and in any time, in any walk of life Rose’s story is a belter.
All men and women die, but not all of them live . . . well Rosie lived.
Rest well dear Rose, my god you deserve it x