The day after Badminton I got the most hideous cold/cough. This was definitely on the scale of the man flu phenomenon — so as you can imagine I was feeling suitably sorry for myself. Although I felt pretty ropey, we continued on and Bertie (Bonhunt Bertie) went to Aston-le-Walls for his first intermediate where he stormed round for a double clear and 10th place despite me coughing and spluttering. I was absolutely thrilled! He’s such a cute jumper and great fun.
The following day we were off to Chatsworth, which is the most wonderful event — such an amazing location and slick organisation! On arrival, I was in such a rush to get going that in my haste to take off my jumper, I dislocated my shoulder — idiot! (I have done it before, but not for some time). Ouch, it hurt… a lot. My wonderful dad drove me to Chesterfield A&E, where I refused drugs as that would stop me competing once it was back in and the medical staff attempted to relocate it. The pain was excruciating, but I kept thinking: ‘channel AP McCoy, pain is temporary, this is not going to kill you, if you just relax and it goes back in you’ll be flying round Chatsworth on Sunday’. I kept chanting this to myself as the pain became more and more. It was so nearly there — I could feel it on the cusp of going back in, but it just wouldn’t and by god it hurt. After about five to 10 minutes of silent acceptance, I couldn’t take it any more — I yelled a naughty word very loudly and grabbed my arm back to my chest, typically apologising profusely for my swearing and inability to continue. I was slightly heartened by the nurse who said I was an absolute trooper, but still defeated, I was sedated for it to be put back in to place. Straight away, I felt a million dollars with full movement back and although slightly tender, could easily ride straight away. Sadly though the event couldn’t let me continue on safety grounds, which although hugely disappointing, was understandable. I had three lovely horses and all their owners disappointed — it was a long journey home!
With my cold and dislocation, I found myself getting a touch of ‘poor me syndrome’, which was quickly rectified by my super team, partner James, owners and wonderful friends, who put me back on the straight and narrow and onwards to Rockingham Castle the following weekend.
Bob (Wish He Was Yours), Freddie (Mr Fahrenheit III) and Dan (Bronze Dandylion) stepped in to the breach by all going beautifully and re-establishing my faith in my journey and my beloved sport. As I trotted round the dressage warm-up, I spotted a familiar spectator — my mum had come to watch! It was such a lovely surprise — dad had been there to pick up the pieces at Chatsworth too, so I have been feeling pretty lucky to have both of them, and of course my ever-supportive stepfather Tony too.
Onwards to Houghton and Bertie jumped a super double clear in his first three-day event to be in the money. It was great fun and he seemed to really enjoy himself, which is wonderful. Vinnie (The Rutman) had a spin round the four-star in preparation for Bramham (pictured top), which I will tell you about next time, and went really nicely round a tough track. Splash (Drumbilla Metro) wasn’t so keen in the four-star, but I’m determined to get my pal back on form — we’ll be back.
Simon reports back after a rollercoaster week at Badminton
Being an event rider is a real rollercoaster, both physically and emotionally. Following every peak, there is always a trough, but following every trough there will be a peak — it’s all about getting to those peaks.
My horses owners, my staff, friends, the organisers of Chatsworth Horse Trials and their medical team have been amazing and I’m so grateful to all of you! Thank you.
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