George William Frank EsterlingPublished 10:28pm Monday, May 6, 2013
George was a consummate horseman who lived his life immersed in horses.
There wasn’t a horse he couldn’t handle and most horses related to him and did whatever he asked. He was primarily a jockey for most of his life and he raced on the flat and over the sticks. He trained horses as well.
His greatest memory was riding in the Grand National Steeplechase in Aintree, England. He rode a big Irish chestnut gelding called Irish Lizard and trained by Vincent O’Brien. According to George, Vincent was hoping to pull off a coup with the pair but his plans came to naught when the Garda caught his stable lads cutting the telephone wires.
George said that Vincent lost his license for a while over this. George and Irish Lizard ran third to Dick Francis on Royal Tan in 1953. His ashes are being sent to his niece in England who will scatter them (with permission) at Becher’s Brook on the Aintree steeplechase course.
During his life with horses, he was a jockey, a trainer and a huntsman. He also worked for the Firestones and Du Ponts, then moved down to the Landrum area to work for Janet Peterson. After he left Mrs. Peterson and Glassy Mountain Farm, in his semi- retirement he worked with Dr. Bob McDaniel at Twin Oaks Veterinary Clinic. To the very end, his mind was as sharp as a tack and he had a plethora of wonderful horse stories.
He was an avid huntsman and his hounds loved him. His beloved wife, Camilla, died five years ago. She was his soul mate and helped him in the stables and kennels. They both adored dogs and had a succession of whippets, lurchers and Jack Russells.
His last Jack Russell, Tina, now lives with Dr. Bob in Gowensville. An interesting tidbit is that Lester Piggott is a cousin. George is pictured here on his favorite horse, Tantivy, surrounded by adoring fox hounds. George’s
On any course he would ride a horse,
For any amount he was willing.
If he thought he could win a race
He’d ride it for a shilling.
For jockeys come and jockeys go
But we thought he’d go on forever.