Event rider Polly Stockton lost one of her top horses, Word For Word, in a tragic cross-country fall at Burnham Market horse trials last weekend.

The 15-year-old New Zealand Thoroughbred, who came second at Burghley with Polly in 2002, flipped over at fence 18, the Dray, and died at the scene.

The former ride of Mark Todd, who produced the horse from a novice up to four-star level, Word For Word won Saumur, the British Open at Gatcombe, was second at Badminton and third at Burghley prior to Todd’s retirement from the sport.

The gelding’s owners, Mary Rose and Mike Cooney, had hoped to aim him at Burghley again this year.

Polly said: “He was a real four-star horse and I’m so lucky to have had him to ride, for fantastic owners. Fortunately, it was very quick and he wouldn’t have known much about it.”

Polly escaped serious injury, but will be off riding “for a bit”. She expects to be fit again for Badminton, where she will ride Tangleman.

  • For a report on the rest of the action from Burnham Market, see today’s issue of Horse & Hound (14 April, ’04)


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