Hazel M Peel

Hazel M Peel (1930–2013) was born in Stratford in London. Her family were not well off, and she did errands so she could have a few riding lessons, cycling five miles to get to the riding stables she described as ‘grotty’.

She left school at fourteen, and started work a year later in a livery stables near Grimsby. The stables were an inspiration, but her digs were anything but. Food was still rationed, and Hazel didn’t get much of what there was. She said, “I was driven to trying to eat the horses’ food. Ever been that hungry when growing and doing hard physical labour? I vowed I would never be hungry again when adult and no one, NO ONE would ever shove me around. They haven’t either.”

Hazel kept moving round different stables to learn, working with hunters, point-to-pointers and show jumpers, all of which provided plenty of material for her Leysham Stud series. Its heroes, Ann and Jim Henderson, start a stud dedicated to breeding what we would now call sport horses. Three titles are now available (asterisked in the list below).

The Leysham Stud Series

Pilot the Hunter

Pilot the Chaser

Easter the Show Jumper

Night Storm the Flat Racer *

Dido and Rogue *

Darius the Three Day Eventer *