Equine vet Katie Brickman and Black Jack V defied the odds to return from serious injuries and take the lead in Horse & Hound Festival of Eventing’s 70cm class.

The pair performed a polished test in Keysoe’s main arena to score of 25.75, putting them at the head of the 39-strong section at the Bedfordshire event (26-28 May), which is run in association with KBIS.

This is the horse’s first event since tearing his middle patella ligament inside his stifle in a field accident l8 months ago.

The eight-year-old gelding had been having time off while Katie recovered from a life-threatening injury at work.

The Malton-based rider, who leads Minster Equine Veterinary was carrying a bottle of antibiotics at work, when she fell and the glass smashed into her left hand, severing the main artery in her wrist and tendons in her hand.

Now the pair are both back in action and have a one penalty lead ahead of second placed Georgie Siggers and Roy The Rascal, with Sally Pidsey and Tranwheal Tineth Moon in third 28.25.

“He was absolutely fantastic, really good today,” said a delighted Katie.

“He was a bit fresh in the warm-up but as soon as we got into the arena he was switched on, listening and knew what he was doing so we were smiling all the way round.

“We were given a really guarded prognosis for him ever to come back to being ridden again [after the accident] let alone to event, so he has had a long time in the stable and we’ve brought him back into exercise very gradually.

“He has come back even better than he was before.”

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Medics told Katie that she may never regain full strength in her hand again due to the extent of her injuries.

“We both had a bit of a terrible year last year, but I think the fact we were both off has made us come back together — I feel like we have come back stronger and he feels the best he ever has to me.”

Don’t miss the full report from the H&H Festival of Eventing in Horse & Hound magazine — on sale Thursday, 7 June and follow online at www.horseandhound.co.uk