The Bunn family, owner of the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead, is to review security after a drunken competitor attempted to take a horse into the riders’ bar in the stable area during the Royal International Horse Show, injuring bystanders.
A local horse dealer is alleged to have jumped the horse over a picket fence designed to keep vehicles away from the area — without a saddle or bridle — and then tried to ride him into the tent in what Lizzie Bunn describes as “an act of madness”.
She says: “Understandably, the horse objected and spun round, running into several people who were outside the bar. The horse was taken away and the police were called. It is impossible to predict that someone is going to do something as stupid as that.”
The man was arrested and later bailed by Sussex police pending further enquiries.
Allison Gibson and Lucinda Quinn, who were at the show working on the Horse & Hound tradestand, were among those injured. Lucinda was treated in hospital for a broken tooth and facial injuries.
“The horse’s knee hit me in the face, splitting my lip, and my tooth was broken and the nerve exposed. I had to see an emergency dentist and will need further treatment. It was a horrible experience and I’m still shaken up,” she says.
“This man is now barred from Hickstead for life,” says Lizzie Bunn. “We are exploring whether there is any way that we can prevent this sort of incident happening again. The bar is provided for competitors and grooms to relax and enjoy themselves in during the show, and we don’t want idiotic behaviour of this kind to spoil that.”
BSJA spokesman Jacky Knightley confirmed that the association is also conducting an investigation into the incident.
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