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Clifton Lush, Jock Paget’s mount who was withdrawn from the New Zealand eventing team at the Rio Olympics, needed 100 stitches after he cut his face on a pipe outside his stable, his owner has told H&H.

Lucy Allison, who co-owns the horse with Frances Stead, said: “He was found by his groom with a gash five inches long. This necessitated the Olympic surgeon and three more vets sewing him up. The gash was large enough for the vet to be able to push his hand through from his cheek into his mouth. It took two  hours and four layers, comprising over 100 stitches, to sew him up.

“Everyone attending him gave him every due care and attention, but as it was so close to his mouth, Jock had to ride him in a headcollar with reins attached. It was then apparent to everyone that time was against him, as he couldn’t have a bit in his mouth.”

Clifton Lush was presented at the horse inspection and asked to trot twice, but then passed. However, he was then withdrawn and replaced by travelling reserve horse Ringwood Sky Boy, ridden by Tim Price. The pair fell on the flat while turning between fences across country.

Lush is now home and well on the road to recovery.

Clifton Lush back home in his field

Clifton Lush back home in his field

“He is very well, ” said Lucy, adding that the horse will be aimed at Burghley (1-4 September) or if he needs more time, for the French four-star at Pau (12-16 October).

Clifton Lush Rio

Clifton Lush’s stitches healing up after his return to the UK

Clifton Lush’s good results with Jock Paget include third at Badminton last year and sixth this year, as well as fifth at Burghley in 2011 and 2012.

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Full report on the eventing from the Rio Olympics in the issue of H&H out now (dated 11 August), including full analysis of every phase and comments from Mark Phillips, Ruth Edge and Tina Cook.