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Four-star event rider, Dee Kennedy endured “the most terrifying experience of her life” last night (23 July).

Dee had taken her four-star partner, Chequers Playboy (Kenny, pictured) to all-weather gallops at Kelsall Hill in Cheshire. Half-way up the hill on their third canter of the session, Kenny’s bit broke clean in two.

“Kenny is very strong, even at the best of times. I ride him in a twisted Barry gag and I always still have a double handful,” said Dee, who runs an event yard from her Cheshire base.

When the bit broke, Dee went to pull the reins and each half of the bit came up the sides of Kenny’s face to behind his ears.

“Initially feeling the bit behind his ears sent him forward, so I did my best to pat him and calm him down,” explained Dee.

Unfortunately Kenny soon realised he was free and bolted. He left the gallops at high speed and turned off onto a grass farm track.

“I had a neckstrap, so tried to use that to slow him down, but it was having absolutely no affect at all. All I could do was keep talking to him,” added Dee.

The rider said she didn’t want to bail out for two reasons. “Firstly I didn’t know where he would end up if I went out the side door, but also it would have hurt,” she said.

By this point Dee and Kenny were heading downhill towards a woman coming up the hill on a hack.

“I shouted to the lady ‘please can you get in my way’, but unfortunately she thought I was telling her to get out of the way,” explained Dee.

Thankfully the distraction of another horse was enough to slow Kenny down to a trot, at which point Dee jumped off.

“My legs were like jelly. I put the reins through Kenny’s mouth to keep hold of him while I led him about half a mile back to the horsebox,” said Dee, who had made the trip to the gallops on her own.

“I called my husband Hayden and asked him to come and help me re-group and to make sure I was still human.

Luckily horse and rider both escaped without injury.

Dee, who was formerly in a pop band that toured with Boyzone, is aiming Kenny at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in September, which will mark his fifth attempt at four-star level.

  • Polly

    What silly comments. I’m guessing this (****) rider is pretty damn gutsy, educated, fit, experienced and her horse the same. Of course I don’t know either of them.
    I am just glad they both survived the scare unscathed! I’m also guessing when a (****) rider says her (****) horse bolted they weren’t going 450 mpm

  • TLS

    Sooo you are running xc at 450 mm and are going to now loop the rein over the horses nose and stop western style?

  • TLS

    have ya run xc? the bit is just another aid but a good one.

  • TLS

    a friend was doing gallops in a simple snaffle that snapped, horse bolted as soon as he knew he was “free”, no amount of ground work is going to prevent this, stay on the merry go round and you will be fine.

  • Amelia Phillips

    Interesting comment since you have NO idea about my personal riding ability, experience or history in training.
    Regardless, any competent rider ought to check tack for signs of wear and distortion before use. Stainless steel with a fault still requires pressure to break.
    A poor reply addressing nothing. But great excuses 🙂

  • rdc1000

    That’s a silly comment, sometimes equipment breaks, and it can be a manufacturing fault in metalwork (as seen elsewhere when the manufacturer of a bit accepted liability). As for stopping by other means, you’ve obviously never sat on an adrenalin pumped event horse then, let a alone one fit enough for 3 and 4* competitions.

  • rdc1000

    Sometimes equipment breaks, and it can be a manufacturing fault in metalwork (as seen elsewhere when the manufacturer accepted liability). As for more ground work, you’ve obviously never sat on an adrenalin pumped event horse then, let a alone one fit enough for 3 and 4* competitions.

  • Koda’s Kid

    I had the same thing happen with a roller D-ring snaffle, and the went running back to the barn with me on her.

  • Amelia Phillips

    How much pressure has been applied to the horses mouth to break a stainless steel bit?
    Did anyone bother to check the horses mouth after the incident?
    Work on your partnership. Riders should not need a bit to stop, there are an abundance of other aids.
    A 2 minute equipment check before you tack up saves nonsense like this

  • savinghorses2

    Bit needs examined for reason why it broke. Substandard metal or craftsmanship. Or worse sabatoge. Next time loop rein over horses nose and pull stop western style. Works in an emergency.

  • CharlieFDevon

    Sounds like she needs to do more ground work and use a gentler bit. Any horse would panic with that sort of pain in their mouths!