Caroline Silver obituary

Other lives: Journalist who specialised in racing and equestrianism and published a number of books about horses

My friend Caroline Silver, who has died aged 83, was a model, writer, editor and crossword-compiler, for a time ran a B&B, and was a forthright and persistent campaigner, skilled at getting others to take up causes dear to her, including the hospice movement, badger protection and safer bridleways.

A model with the Lucie Clayton agency in London in the late 1950s, the young Caroline was glamorous. Her secretarial training and chutzpah stood her in good stead later when she became a freelance journalist for a range of publications including the Telegraph and the Sunday Times.

Living in New York in the 60s, she worked for the publisher Scholastic, as maths editor and crossword-compiler, and wrote books on 60s music. Her numerous horse books included Classic Lives (1973), on the breeding of racehorses; Summer with Tommy (1974), about breaking in a pony; and a guide to the horses of the world, in which she claimed to have included two invented breeds of horse to make it seem the most comprehensive on the subject.

She also exercised racehorses, wrote scripts for short BBC films, and even featured as a stunt artist in a television series. In the early 80s, she wrote a lively and witty monthly property column for Harpers & Queen magazine.

Born in Edgbaston, Birmingham, Caroline was the only child of Philip Green, a chartered accountant, and Ethne Francis, an auricula enthusiast. After leaving Kingsley school, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, Caroline had a quirky finishing school mix of the National Training College of Domestic Subjects in London, the Pudupet Convent School of Commerce in Madras (now Chennai), and Lucie Clayton.

She had a passion for knowledge, undertaking courses at Columbia University in New York in the 60s, and later in horticulture and horse care at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire, and in nursing from the Red Cross. She did not have a degree, but would cheerfully invent one if required: she believed that if you could do a job well, you should have the job.

Caroline loved horses, cats and wildlife. She would leave saucers of food on her bedside chest for her pet cats, and woke once to find herself nose to nose with a badger that had been attracted in through the catflap by the food.

She spent hours on horseback from childhood, won the first point-to-point she rode in, and wrote a vivid account for the Telegraph magazine whose February 1969 cover featured her in action. She later wrote about racing for the Telegraph and was the Sunday Times equestrian correspondent.

Caroline married the architect Nathan Silver in 1961. They divorced in 1970; her 1978 marriage to the naive artist Vincent Haddelsey also ended in divorce. Devoted to her parents, Caroline looked after them while running a B&B in Amberley, Gloucestershire, and she met Richard “Biffo” Barnes, who in 1997 became her third husband, when he came to nurse her father. Biffo died in 2020.

Generous with her time, Caroline had a great gift for friendship. Planning the funeral route for the horse-drawn coffin, her friends agreed that it would be the first time Caroline had gone twice past the Amberley Inn without going in.

Sue Ellis

The GuardianTramp

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