Suzanna Hext’s road to recovery: back where I belong

  • It’s certainly been a whirlwind of a few weeks for me – all go, which is just how I like it!

    Hospital appointments are something that for obvious reasons I am not particularly keen on. However, it’s when you come back from a day of appointments, as I did at the John Radcliffe hospital last week realising just how far you’ve come, that it makes all the struggles worth it.

    It meant a huge amount to me to see my surgeon Professor Tipu Aziz, Jane Quinlan and Liz Moir completely over the moon with how happy I am and how far I’ve come. They saw me through some pretty horrendous times and they have helped me an immense amount to get out the other side and to where I am now. Back where I belong – working, riding, socialising and being independent, as a 26-year-old should be!

    I thought I’d make a whole day of seeing everyone while I was at the John Radcliffe. I wandered up to the trauma unit that I was on for four months to see the incredible nurses and team that looked after me.

    I didn’t expect to see so many nurses and I certainly didn’t expect to see the ward physio, Warren. He recognised me instantly – I didn’t know whether to be offended, as surely I’ve changed a lot since then or pleased that he didn’t even have to double take (apart from the fact that I was upright, unlike the last time he saw me)! I guess he did see me nearly every day for four months!

    Notching up some wins

    Amo hartpury

    Amo at Hartpury

    Blimey where do I start with my competition outings? I couldn’t have ever dreamt of being out competing a year ago, and I certainly wouldn’t have thought I would be out most weekends with either just Amo or both Amo and Abira.

    I couldn’t do this without the wonderful support from everyone at Talland. I am so very grateful, and truly believe they have given me a massive proportion of my life back.

    After finally persuading my parents not to sell the lorry, it has moved up to Talland. It has been quite strange going out in my lorry again, especially as I am unable to drive it now. I used to drive all over the country to events in it, so at least it’s being put to good use again.

    I’ll start with the Hartpury para competition, as I’m fresh back from competing there on Saturday. Having not had the greatest lead up to it in the world, feeling less than 100%, I definitely needed the horses to be on side.

    They certainly were that, it was a great day out and Amo and Abira were very well behaved. It is almost like they knew.

    Abira won both his tests, with a 68%+ in the team test and a 69%+ in the individual. Amo was second in the team test with 66%+ and third for 64% in the individual.

    This was my second time competing in the open test since I was internationally classified in Deauville. It was a big step up and I still have a lot of perfecting to do.

    The first time I competed in the open tests was at Solihull, where Abira came 1st in the team test in 72% and 2nd in the individual test on 69%. Amo came 2nd in the team test and 5th in the individual test.

    I am really looking forward to getting out again this weekend to my next para competition at Vale View.

    We’ve qualified

    amo hart3

    Amo at Hartpury

    Amo and I have been enjoying our outings at advanced medium level. Possibly a little too much at times, as I think we both smile throughout the flying changes!

    One of the judges’ written comments recently was: “I think she enjoys her changes!”

    Amo polos

    Amo loving her polos

    We have managed to qualify for the advanced medium regionals and the Petplan Equine Area Festival, which is extremely exciting.

    This little horse gives me so much and tries her heart out for me. What I really love about her is that you have to earn her willingness (polos help) and she doesn’t just give it to you. I think it’s part of being a mare.

    We have posted some consistent results recently, including coming 2nd at Allens Hill and 1st and 3rd at Hunters Equestrian.

    I absolutely love doing the advanced medium test – it’s a fantastic challenge. Next on the agenda: we are going to try and do some advanced medium freestyle tests together.

    The miracle house

    In my last couple of sessions at Oaksey House, I have been stamping down on a few aspects of my position that I need to work on. Including my head and neck position, and hand/arm.

    In order to put this into practice we’ve been using the Equisizer. Cat has been getting me to put my left arm in the air and keep it there. At the same time she has me turning my head and neck left.

    Having the fantastic facilities, atmosphere and expertise at Oaksey is unbelievable.

    Back to school

    Millfield Preparatory School held their first British Eventing (BE) event at the weekend. The fences were beautifully dressed, each one with a theme. The most incredible effort had gone into the event.

    Having been a Millfield pupil in the past, I was summoned to jump judge for the day.

    It was extremely social, Sally Bishop and I were duty bound to the last fence on the course. This was perfectly placed where everyone walked to and from the cross-county.

    It was lovely to catch up with numerous eventing friends and Millfield staff. One of the highlights had to be seeing Keith (the cross-country course starter), as the last time he saw me, I was in a wheelchair at Hatherleigh Horse Trails. I used to love him starting me off cross-country, as he always chatted away and wished me good luck on course.

    Millfield certainly knows how to spoil their volunteers, throughout the day we were treated to an array of delicious pastries, meats, salads, rolls and cakes. I would definitely recommend this event to anyone thinking of entering next year.

    Abira Hartpury 2

    Abira at Hartpury

    What’s next?

    There’s certainly no rest for the wicked. The next few weeks are filled with competitions, work and much more. I’d say I’m pretty lucky. How life changes.

    Needless to say never give up on your dreams…


    “Some people want it to happen, some wish it to happen, and others make it happen: Michael Jordan

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