A snapped stirrup or rein is the stuff of nightmares — check out these instances when it happened to some of the best in the business
1. Mark Todd at Badminton
The New Zealand legend was flying round Badminton with Bertie Blunt back in 1995 when his left stirrup broke as he jumped into the Vicarage Pond. He suffered through the agony of completing the rest of the course, hitching his leg up to relieve the pressure between fences, but the next morning the horse had some bruising to his foot and had to be withdrawn from the final horse inspection. Poetic justice was served when the pair won the event the next year.
2. Henrik Von Eckermann in Paris
The Swedish showjumper was jumping a massive oxer in the CSI5* grand prix Hermès in Paris earlier this year when his right stirrup gave way. He made a valiant attempt to stay in the saddle, but was unable to do so. Luckily neither horse nor rider was injured.
3. Sam Griffiths at Burghley
Lying in eighth place after dressage at Burghley last year, the Aussie eventer was on track for a good placing with Happy Times when his left stirrup iron broke between fences three and four — the bolts holding the tread of the stirrup iron in place sheared off, leaving it dangling from the leather with nowhere for him to put his foot. Sam continued on course, clear all the way, until the Cottesmore Leap (fences 12/13), when he pulled up as the flapping stirrup was beginning to unsettle Happy Times.
4. Kirsty Short at Lincoln
The event rider was competing her Badminton hopeful Cossan Lad at the prep event when her rein snapped at the sixth showjump.
“He was actually really well behaved given the situation — he could have easily just popped out of the arena over the hedge,” said Kirsty. “I took a check setting up for an upright and suddenly I was like, ‘Oh I have no rein attached’. I then leant down and grabbed the bit of rein hanging from the bit and managed to stop him. I did however contemplate for a second maybe I could loop the rein through the bit somehow and carry on. Thankfully my sensible side came over me and I retired.”
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5. Christian Landolt at Bicton Arena
Christian was leading after the dressage in the CIC2* at Bicton with Toblerone NZPH when his stirrup snapped at fence two of the showjumping.
“Luckily I did not fall off and managed to jump a few more fences before the pain of a pulled adductor muscle was too painful, so I had to retire,” he told H&H.
“All I can say is that luckily I was not going across country at the time.”
6. Harrie Smolders in Ghent
The Dutch rider was just starting his jump-off in the CSI2* grand prix at Flanders Horse Expo in Belgium in February this year when his left stirrup snapped on landing at the first fence. Undeterred, Harrie continued round the course with Emerald NOP, with barely a break in his balance, and went on to win the class.
7. Gregory Wathelet in Paris
At the Global Champions Tour in 2014, the Belgian rider was contesting the Prix du Qatar on Conrad De Hus when the horse’s bridle came off over his ears as he jumped a large oxer near the end of the course. The ear covers momentarily obscured the horse’s vision, but the bridle then dropped down and flapped around while the horse kept hold of the bit in his mouth. The pair managed to jump three more fences, completing a clear round, before the horse spat the bit out after the finish flags.
8. Yago Alvarez del Castillo in Colorado
The rider was representing Mexico North in the second round of a junior showjumping competition last July, when his left rein popped off his ride Coloredo 2’s bit as he jumped through a one-stride combination. He was forced to retire, but the team still captured the gold medal, with the rider’s score from round one among the counting efforts.