Event rider Francis Whittington (pictured) is in hospital after suffering a relapse of suspected meningitis.

Last Tuesday, Francis, 32, collapsed at home and was taken to Kent & Sussex Hospital, where he spent two nights. Doctors believe he had meningitis.

After making what his father Peter described as an “amazing recovery” Francis was allowed home on Thursday, but on Sunday he was taken back to hospital after a relapse.

“They think he got dehydrated, which is causing problems so he’s in hospital on drips,” said Peter, who was part of the cross-country commentary/control team at South of England Horse Trials at the weekend.

But Peter had to make a sharp exit on Sunday when Francis’s sister, Bryony, rang to say the event rider was going back to hospital.

“It looks like he’ll be all right now, but they may be more cautious about letting him out quickly this time,” added Peter.

Francis is entered for Badminton Horse Trials with his top horse, Sir Percival III, but it looks unlikely he will be able to ride there now. The pair finished 15th last year.

Francis has a one-year-old son, Max, with his wife Samantha (née Wood) and they are based in East Sussex.