Event rider Lucy Wiegersma has told H&H that her father Hendrik is improving after suffering a serious accident on his ride-on mower last week in Devon.

The Dutch-born 61-year-old, who evented in the 1970s before becoming a horse dealer, was trapped under the mower for nearly 10 hours when it slipped down a 10ft drop.

He was airlifted to Exeter hospital and transferred to Frenchay, where he is currently. He was due to move from intensive care to the burns unit today (Monday 8 August).

“He broke his hip, which has been successfully pinned and plated, punctured a lung and has some kidney damage,” said Lucy. “The worst part are the chemical burns from the petrol — he had 20% burns to his body and had to have a skin graft on his right leg.

“We’re still not sure if he’s broken his ankle and he has a chest infection. He’s very, very lucky and ultimately he will be ok.”

Hendrik will be in hospital for another two to three weeks.

“We don’t really know what happened, and we feel bad about it,” added Lucy. “He’s very independent and does his own thing and we’re used to him keeping odd hours. One of his favourite pastimes is mowing. It was the middle of the night and Mum [former Olympic groom Pippa] noticed he wasn’t in bed, or in his office, so we went out to find him.

“He was due to have his cateracts removed two days after the accident so the likelihood is he didn’t see what he was doing and rolled it. He hasn’t looked after himself well — mum says in the first 20 years of their marriage he was seldom out of plaster, and he’s chopped off three fingers in the past.”