With a quiet word and a gentle touch on the rein, one of the world’s most famous horses dipped his head to greet one of the world’s most famous women.
The horse – a stallion – was “Without Fear”. The woman was Queen Elizabeth II. The tall, softly spoken horseman who engineered the moment was Peter Jones.
“She [the Queen] had asked if she could come in the ring and hold Without Fear, give him a pat on the shoulder,” Jones recalls. “Of course we said yes. As she reached for the main rein, I gave the side rein a touch, and down went his head.”
The Queen, Mr Jones, and the horse, met on a sunny March day in 1977, at Lindsay Park stud in the Barossa Valley. The monarch was on her silver jubilee tour of Australia, taking in all of the states.
There are a couple of reasons why the Queen would want a visit to a horse stud on her South Australian schedule. Chief among them was the fact she really loved horses, and had her own highly successful racing stables. Lindsay Park and its owner, trainer Colin Hayes, were internationally recognised for their breeding of thoroughbreds. And “Without Fear” was equine aristocracy in his own right – all in all, fit company for a Queen.
“Without Fear was a champion”, Jones says. “He’d just created a worldwide record for the number of two-year-old winners he’d sired, and the fact that Colin Hayes had trained most of them, and I’d educated the majority of them… so the Queen was interested in our methods of educating two-year-olds.” The horseman was 41 at the time of the Royal visit, but already he’d made a lifelong quest of finding better ways to teach horses. Jones, and his methods, had gathered a reputation of their own which The Daily Mail, reporting back for its British audience, completely mangled the meaning of.
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