As you may or may not be aware, Joss (Trevidden) used me as an airbag (not a mark on him and following vet checks he was given a clean bill of health) at Hartpury when we had an altercation with fence four and both ate turf in a frightening rotational fall. In doing so, he knocked me out and dislocated my shoulder. I have met some spectators who were at the fence, also seen a sequence of photos, and the general consensus is that I am very lucky to still be alive. I feel incredibly humble, especially following the tragic news of Nikita Sotskov’s fatal accident in Belarus following a rotational fall recently. Such terrible news and my heart goes out to his family and friends.
After a stint in hospital and an operation to relocate my shoulder, I found myself in a most attractive cast that stopped me moving my arm into a position where it would force my rather tender shoulder to pop out again and I was under strict instructions to take it easy.
I had 18 horses either eventing or preparing to event before the accident meaning that the business was secure. However, and completely understandably very quickly, I was down to seven horses on the yard and predictably I felt like I was edging onto a slippery slope financially with staff still to pay and bills coming out of my ears. I can’t expect people to keep their horses with me when they aren’t doing anything but my owners and staff have been incredibly supportive and understanding through this tough period — so many of them (if not all) are more friends than anything else and I’m eternally grateful to them. Every businessman knows that your success depends on your USP, and when you are that USP and it is currently non-functional then things can get tricky.
Most of the horses are either on holiday or being worked by their owners at home. However some have stayed, and I took the decision together with their owners to ask Izzy Taylor if she would ride a couple of them in competition from my yard. Izzy is a long standing friend and amazing at getting on any horse and getting a tune out of it very quickly — the perfect candidate.
Douglas and Ed (Edison) have run well under her and it’s been brilliant that she can keep them ticking along for me. She has gelled amazingly with Joss with two wins on the trot. She’ll keep the ride on him now and I hope they continue as they have started. It’s sad for me, as I thought riding Joss was a great opportunity for me, but fate has dealt its hand and it wasn’t to be.
With being stuck in a cast and unable to drive I’m not going to lie, it’s been a tough few weeks and emotionally it’s been a pretty rocky road too. However, I am lucky to have some wonderful staff, owners, friends, family and a supremely supportive partner who have all done an amazing job of smoothing the road for me, so thank you all so very much.
To keep me busy I have been teaching and also had a go at commentating for a couple of days on the livestream at Blenheim. I really enjoyed it, but I’m not sure I’m the most natural successor to the great Mike Tucker. I can safely say it’s not as easy as you might think. I did get to watch some super riding though, particularly from my fellow Noble Outfitters rider Willa Newton who rode with incredible determination, style and rhythm, and so deserved the successful weekend she had.
Talking of Noble, I had the pleasure of doing some promotion work for them at Burghley in the Celebrity Talk Area which was great fun as well as watching some of my good mates having a go round the huge four-star track. I was disappointed to not have my two boys there as planned, but I’m sure everything happens for a reason. We’ll be back and it was wonderful seeing friends fulfilling their ambitions and dreams.
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Yesterday I got on my superstar pal Bozzie (Cornacrew, pictured top) for my first ride since my fall and the removal of my cast. I absolutely adore that horse and he typically looked after me incredibly well and I couldn’t have asked for a better first spin. He obviously now thinks he is going to Burghley or Pau, as this morning he was doing laps of the field at a gallop…taking interval training into his own hands perhaps? It’s the most energetic he’s been for a while so I hope he’s not going to end up disappointed!
I’m hoping to get some events in before the end of the season and Bozzie has done a brilliant job in getting the ball rolling (I have so much to thank that horse for) together with the fantastic physio, Andy Thomas. I hope my next instalment will bring you news of a super fun return to competition for us here at Team Grieve.