Simon Grieve’s eventing blog: we both ate dirt and my foot was crushed underneath

  • With Bramham done and dusted, we decided to have a mid-season ‘party on the lawn’ for people who have helped me not just this season, but also over the past few years, to celebrate the first half of our season — it was a great success. The weather was kind, and although quite a few people couldn’t make it, about 70 in total came along for a drink and some food, which just goes to show how many people have been involved in this dream over the years. It was great to see everyone.

    Great Witchingham for me marks the start of summer and we decided to make a weekend of it and stay over, especially as Guy (our working student) was doing his first intermediate on Jerry. He did not disappoint with the most fantastic double clear. It was great to watch and he did a super job.

    I however, didn’t do such a good job. The lovely Bertie (Bonhunt Bertie) kicked off well with a placing in the five year old class but, when riding a less experienced horse in the BE90, I had an altercation with an 85cm arrowhead rail and we both ate dirt. My foot was crushed underneath him and for a horrible moment I thought it could well be broken. The horse was absolutely fine, got up and cantered back to the lorry leaving me nursing a rapidly expanding foot and the medical team at Great Witchingham who were brilliant. The paramedics gave me the all clear and off we trundled home, it has to be said amid plenty of whinging!

    The next morning I woke, swung my legs round to sit on the side of the bed, put my foot to the floor and squeaked like a big girls blouse, I couldn’t carry any weight on it and looking down the foot had expanded to, I kid you not, the size of a small continent.

    Not one to be over dramatic, I called Amanda who helps me on the yard, in a minor panic and asked her to call the fire brigade to winch me out of the house, and an ambulance to get me to hospital as quickly as possible. However, sensibly she refused, and said that when she got to work she would take me to the minor injury unit in Oakham herself — Amanda is more than capable of a good fireman’s lift.

    On arrival I said good morning to the receptionist as I hopped in and promptly fell over the carpet, flat on my face. You know that look of mirth and concern rolled into one? It was etched all over her face. Suffice to say nothing was broken, but I was told to take it easy for a few days. With Polly Taylor’s Freddie (Mr Fahrenheit III) doing his first two-star and Vicki Irlam’s Douglas the three-star at Barbury the next weekend, this was ‘not an option’, so taking it easy was concentrated into 24 hours — apply ice, foot up, Wimbledon on!

    Riding was not comfortable, but if brave, I saw no reason why I could not manage the weekend and although I had no idea how I would get my competition boot on as it would not fit over the swelling, armed with crutches, a bike (to ‘walk’ the courses) and two horses, we got on the road to Barbury.

    Continued below…

    What a fantastic event it is and Holly Farr and her team do a super job of organising it. I got the boot on with carefully choreographed ice and bandage application at the right moments, and Freddie did us proud jumping the most lovely double clear in his first two-star (pictured). He managed it despite lots of ooo’s and ah’s from his slightly pained jockey on the way round. Douglas also cruised round and felt a class act, so I’m really very excited about what the autumn holds for these two.

    With plenty of events, dressage training and British Showjumping ahead, there’s no rest for the wicked. Be good — speak soon.

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