British showjumper John Whitaker was taken to hospital this evening (Saturday, 5 August) after a bad fall in the grand prix at the Longines Global Champions Tour of London.

The latest update from John’s son Robert is that his Dad is “OK after his fall”.

“He’s been checked out at hospital, he’s sore and stiff but should be OK,” he said.

62-year-old John, who was today celebrating his birthday, suffered a crunching fall from the nine-year-old Cassinis Chaplin in the show’s feature class. The pair met a midway vertical on a bad stride and crashed through it, with John pitched head first over the horse’s neck.

John was seen to be moving his arms in the immediate aftermath and the fantastic medical team attended to him straight away, keeping him lying still and supporting his neck while screens were quickly erected round him.

After a lengthy wait, John was reported by the show announcer Nick Brooks-Ward to be fully conscious and heading to hospital for a “precautionary check-up”. A huge round of applause erupted round the showground when the screens came down and John was stretchered into the waiting ambulance.

John’s brother Michael Whitaker and friend Nick Skelton had immediately rushed to his aid in the arena. The hugely relieved pair told H&H that they thought he was OK.

“He was moving his arms and his legs and talking,” said Michael.

“He dropped £2.50 out of his pocket — I told him that’s the most money I’ve ever got from him!” said Nick.

The eventual winner of the class, John’s team-mate Scott Brash, said afterwards: “Obviously our thoughts are all with John — it sounds as if it’s good news going forward, but it was even more important then to try to get a British win.”

 

Full report from the Longines Global Champions Tour of London in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 10 August