A competitor in the Harborough Ride has been hailed a “modern day Florence Nightingale” by her fellow riders after she stopped to help a racer in peril.

Clare Bell (pictured top), secretary for the Cottesmore, was taking part in the Leicestershire race on Saturday (21 March) when she noticed a competitor and horse in trouble.

Patrick Millington and his horse, Zafarrans Scene, had slipped and fallen into a ditch. Patrick was trapped under the horse, which was thrashing around, putting the rider in danger.

“Clare stopped and got off her horse, giving up her chance of winning the race entirely to help,” said Zoe Gibson, who won the race.

“She got into the ditch and sat on the horse so that a steward could help remove Patrick, who was pinned underneath. It was a real Florence Nightingale moment.”

Zoe also praised Clare’s horse, Bridget.

“Clare had to leave Bridget to help Patrick. The mare was so good, she just stood there quietly while other racers passed by,” Zoe added.

Once Patrick was freed, Clare remounted and finished the ride. Patrick was taken to Kettering hospital with a twisted leg, where he remained for two days, but he’s now home recovering. Zafarrans Scene was unhurt.

“It’s the first holiday I have had in eight years,” he joked.

Forty-seven riders set out in the ride at Saddington Vale, but only 30 completed the tough race.

Zoe just pipped Robert Walked to second place between the last and the finish — securing her eighth consecutive victory in the race. Edward Smyth-Osborne finished third.

The course covered 26 timber fences and natural hedges, plus a large ditch over a 3.5mile course.

For a full report see this week’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine — 26 March.