Founder and driving force behind Clifton Eventers
Frances first took up riding as a young child in England, focusing on eventing in her teens. At Oxford University (where she was awarded a Master of Arts Honours Degree in Chemistry) she spent the vast bulk of her time following sporting pursuits, particularly Modern Pentathlon and riding, representing Britain in the former and awarded eight 'Blues' in the process, a sporting record that apparently remains unbeaten to this day.
With the need to balance her career and eventing interests, Frances was unable to compete higher than Intermediate level before moving in 1987 with her employer to Melbourne, Australia, where she maintained her interest in eventing, albeit at Novice level, and developed a new interest in breeding.
In 1993 she moved with her family, which included two horses and four Great Danes, to Auckland, New Zealand. Ponies were acquired for her two children and she continued to experiment with a small-scale breeding programme that was specifically designed to produce top quality eventers.
The breeding programme was not a great success, not the least problem being that she kept breeding fillies and not colts! Frances also realised it was more efficient and a better predictor of future talent to see young eventers demonstrate their paces when a few years old.
Keen to give back to a sport from which she herself had derived so much enjoyment from over the years, she started to sponsor a young talented rider, Kirstin Kelly, in 1998. Frances provided her with several young eventers, including Clifton Buzz who as a six-year-old was the youngest horse ever to be put on New Zealand Eventing Pre-Elite squad. In December 2000 he was the only horse to do clear round stadium jumping at Puhunui CCI*** 3DE.
This was the start of the Clifton Eventers programme and in the following years additional riders and horses were added. By 2006 Frances had around 20 horses placed with over half-a-dozen different riders. As you might imagine, the management of this became increasingly complex and after the WEG in 2006, where two of the six horses representing New Zealand in the eventing competition were Cliftons, the decision was made to consolidate the majority of the horses with one rider at a purpose-built facility. You can learn more about this facility here.
Frances has been on the board of Eventing New Zealand, the body that manages the sport in New Zealand, where she had special responsibility to develop the competition calendar.
Frances is also a former director of EquuSys, producers of EquuSense equine sensor systems, the first legitimate effort to deliver practical telemetric analysis to the equine world, providing real world, real time quantitative data to enhance the analysis, care and performance development of elite horses.
Frances worked in Marketing at Procter & Gamble for many years before joining L'Oréal in a Marketing Capacity in 1984. In 1993 she became the Managing Director of L'Oréal New Zealand, the first woman to be appointed L'Oréal Managing Director anywhere in the world, and proceeded to increase the turnover ten-fold and the bottom line over 50-fold.
Frances left L'Oréal in 2012 and now lives most of the year in the south-west of France, a short flight from Jock's base in the UK and all the major European competitions, including the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy. She returns to New Zealand several times a year and tries to attend the major competitions there.
She is married to Russell Hall and they have two Great Danes, Zeus and Harriet, and an adopted stray, Lotto. They have two children, Zoë (22) who works in event management in Melbourne and Marcus (20) who is at university in London.