Sunday, 19 October 2014

A Tribute to Carnacrack

A couple of years ago, I was contacted to do a portrait of a horse for a surprise birthday present. This in itself wasn't unusual, but when I found out who the horse was, I was so chuffed to be asked. 

The horse was Carnacrack (or 'Crackle' to his friends). He'd been owned and trained all his racing career by friends of mine, Sandy Forster and Clive Storey, and was only ever ridden by Clive. He was bred in the Scottish Borders and was by the prodigious local stallion Le Coq D'Or out of a mare by another weel kent name from Scottish racing pedigrees, New Brig.

Crackle was a horse I'd followed throughout his career running at the Northern tracks, and was such an honest consistent jumper with the biggest heart. He always looked a picture in the paddock and was just a pleasure to watch. 
When he was retired from racing, he ending up in the care of Irene Thomson, and was loved and cherished by the Thomson family until the day he left for those big green pastures up there in the sky.

When Irene's husband, Beamer, contacted me to commission me, it was a bit tricky in the early stages. Keeping the portrait a surprise involved secret emails, secret phone calls, secret photograph finding and adding to the mix Beamer's slightly challenged internet skills, I was despairing that I would be able to do Crackle justice. After much skulduggery, the picture was finished and the portrait handed over in secret rendezvous in a garden centre car park south of Edinburgh! 

Thankfully, Irene was really pleased with the picture - but bear with me, there's a reason I'm blogging this now! 

Yesterday, Sun 18th October, at Kelso races, Irene sponsored a race in memory of Crackle, the 'Carnacrack Handicap Hurdle'. She'd asked if I minded her using a photo of the portrait for the racecard sponsorship. I of course agreed without hesitation. I was so pleased and flattered that she wanted to use the picture!

 It's been beautifully done, with such a lovely piece written underneath. I got such a big lump in my throat when I saw it.

Don't Irene's words just sum it up about these beautiful horses? 


  1. But Jenny, the comments were so very well deserved, you really do get into the very souls of the animals you paint...such a lovely reminder of a beautiful animal xx Chris