American eventer Darren Chiacchia, who was seriously injured in a rotational fall 10 days ago at Red Hills Horse Trials, is now breathing independently and able to communicate.

Darren remains in intensive care, but has made significant progress in the past week. Statements on his website first reported that he had squeezed people’s hands on command and opened his eyes last Thursday, 20 March.

The latest update from his family reads: “Darren was removed from the ventilator today and has been breathing independently now for about six hours. His ability to communicate is also improving, utilizing hand gestures and making appropriate eye contact. Prognosis remains positive, but he remains in the ICU [intensive care unit].”

Darren was injured in a rotational fall during a preliminary level competition at Red Hills Horse Trials, Florida on Saturday, 15 March. His mount, Baron Verdi, was unhurt.

Darren Chiacchia’s website