Janet George, Irish draught breeder, dies aged 72

  • Janet George, the hunt supporter and passionate Irish draught breeder, died at home on 21 November, aged 72, from a heart condition.

    Born Miss Dobell-Brown in Australia in 1949, Mrs George was adopted as a baby and left home at 14. She got her first job at a solicitors’ in Sydney operating a switchboard, and moved to the UK aged 29.

    She gained British Horse Society qualifications and got a job teaching at Lea Castle riding school, Worcestershire, where she worked with disabled riders and taught beginners. It was through the riding school she met her husband Robert George, and the couple married in 1982. Mr George worked in computing, and was joint-master of the United pack from 2001 until 2013.

    In the 1980s the couple bought Silver Birch Farm in Shropshire, where Mrs George started breeding sheep. She was an avid pro-hunt campaigner and during the 1990s was chief press officer for the British Field Sports Society, which became the Countryside Alliance in 1997. During her time with the organization she was instrumental in the famous Countryside March in London in March 1998 She also worked as a press officer for the British Horse Society.

    “She was magnificent on all media, but breathlessly so on breakfast television, where her forthright, eloquent, passionate, honest and intelligent arguments won the day against all comers,” said retired journalist Joanna Dakin.

    On leaving the Countryside Alliance, Mrs George formed her stud, Indigo Irish Drafts. Her broodmares included Little Macha, Indigo Macha Pride and Corraslira Cleo, and stallion Lady’s Tralee Raj was her “pride and joy”. A highlight of her breeding career was when Indigo Legacy, out of her broodmare Indigo Diamond Surprise and by Lady’s Tralee Raj, received class one grading and a bronze merit from the Irish Draft Horse Society.

    A spokesman for the Irish Draft Horse Society of Great Britain said Janet was a great supporter of the breed and always had time to help those with an interest in horses.

    “There are many happy owners out there with Indigo stock, and Janet will be very sadly missed,” said the spokesman.

    Mrs George was a long-term and valued contributor of the H&H forum community, generously giving advice on a number of topics to other users. In the numerous tributes left to her on the forum, she has been described as having “a wealth of knowledge”, someone who was “willing to help” and who will be “sorely missed”.

    Mr George predeceased Mrs George in 2020, owing to pancreatic cancer.

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