Suzanna Hext’s road to recovery: Burning the candle at both ends

  • I apologise for not writing a blog for a little while. The past few weeks have been pretty full on. Perhaps due in part to me burning the candle at both ends down to the absolute limit, resulting in a bit of illness.

    What have I been up to? Winning my first sash and first para national title, getting some exciting competition results, working, endless hospital appointments and taking an unplanned trip into a hedge to get my very naughty terrier out of a rabbit hole. I honestly never thought I’d say that my crutches would come in handy, however, they turned out to be useful bramble bashing weapons. Consequently, poor Tapi has been banished back to Cornwall with my parents.

    I’ve had some truly incredible experiences recently which are hard to comprehend how they’ve happened. A lady that I spoke to the other day led me to reflect and realise that my last hospital admission and operation was not that long ago, as it was only at the end of April last year. It’s quite strange to actually remember this, as life is now moving so fast.

    Incredible horses and one lucky rider

    Abira- Restricted Summer Para Grade two champion and supreme champion Suz

    Abira — restricted summer para grade two champion and supreme champion at Solihull

    I’ll start with Solihull restricted para championships, which held an open qualifier on the Saturday and the championships on the Sunday.

    Abira was on song and came away with a first in the open qualifier and then went on to become restricted grade two champion and overall supreme champion on the Sunday. Amo was sixth on the Saturday and fifth on the Sunday.

    Another highlight to make the weekend even better was that Tiggy (Lucy Wiegersma’s ex head groom and my great friend) took me to Solihull and groomed for me. It was great to catch up, and have the results to celebrate.

    The para national championships at Stoneleigh had a real buzz. You wouldn’t think that at 8am when I did my first test so many people would be out warming up and giving their horses a leg stretch.

    The 3am start was well worth it (I hope poor Emma, the groom from from Talland agrees!). Abira (pictured top) came second in the grade two championships and Amo came fifth.

    Amo at the para national championships

    Amo at the nationals

    I was delighted with both of them and I enjoyed every minute. Abira was particularly pleased with himself, and he got very excited in the mounted prize-giving! The lap of honour was meant to be in walk, however, Abira thought that was the moment when he was allowed to show off!

    Moving on and competing at Summerhouse area festival on my birthday certainly made it a day to

    Celebrating my birthday at Sumemrhouse

    Celebrating my birthday at Sumemrhouse

    remember rather than forget, like some of my recent ones have been.

    Amo didn’t disappoint. We did our first advanced medium freestyle test, which was great fun. Amo absolutely loves to get her dancing shoes on and really showed off to come second.

    As I left the arena I saw my mum and one of my best friends (Abi) standing outside watching. My mum had driven up at a crazy hour of the morning from Cornwall to surprise me which was a real treat.

    Both mum and Abi had brought up cakes and a bit of bubbly, of which I only had a sip before my next test!

    The next test was the area festival advanced medium which we had qualified for during the year. There was a solid number of entries and Amo put her best foot forward to come fourth. She had made my birthday truly special.

    Enjoying life too much

    Amo is feeling particularly good at the moment. Both horses had chiropractic treatment the other day and Amo had some accupuncture. This was performed by Marvin Firth of County Equine (www.countyequine.co.uk) who has very kindly decided to sponsor me and support my para ambitions. Needless to say they are feeling very loose and even more comfortable since then.

    Amo’s exuberance paid off in the first test at West Wilts area festival, and she came second in the advanced medium. However, in her second test perhaps the excitement from the first test was taken to the next level, as she thought that her simple changes should definitely be flying-changes! She was relieved when she got to near the end of the test where there were flying-changes — her ears were very much pricked forward!

    Without the unbelievable team at Talland School of Equitation, pursuing my dreams and ambitions would not be possible. I am extremely grateful for all their support.

    Amo at West Wilts advanced medium petplan area festival

    Amo at West Wilts advanced medium petplan area festival

    The boring stuff

    Unfortunately what seems like every week I have a hospital appointment at the moment. I had an important couple of appointments at the John Radcliffe last week. I saw my incredible pain team consultant Jane Quinlan and then I had a new specialist spasticity appointment.

    They decided to try botox in my left leg, where I get most of the spasticity. I did here my mum mutter: “If you’ve got any left over…!” It’s going to be a matter of seeing how I get on with it and to take it from there. Fingers crossed.

    Over the next few weeks there’s lots to look forward to. I’m performing my first demo at the Royal Agricultural University next Friday, competing at more open para qualifiers, I’m planning on entering my first advanced test on Amo and I’ve got my final para international competition of the year at Bury Farm.


    “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’” — Audrey Hepburn

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