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Suzanna Hext’s road to recovery: the big smoke and emotional milestones

‘Wish me luck’ may well have been an apt ending for my last blog! No, not for a specific competition but for venturing into London on my own, on crutches. As I said for anyone who knows me, any previous experiences of London even without being on crutches haven’t exactly gone to plan!

with Katie

With Katie in London

My little escapade was always going to bring back a few stories. You wouldn’t think I would have had anything to worry about braving the big city, with both friends Briony and Katie at the other end waiting for me — especially as one is physio and the other a doctor. However, we have all grown up together throughout Pony Club and I know what we are like!

IMG_3416Over the course of the weekend I was not only well travelled, but I took every mode of transport going, except a taxi (that would have been way too easy!). Briony is also a duathlete, so her pace and mine were slightly different.

Her sayings for the weekend were: “You see that place over there, that’s where we are heading” and “it’s just a little bit further”. I now know what she makes her patients do in their physio sessions!

It was great to have a weekend away in London. I saw the sights and can officially say that anything is possible, even on my crutches! I will be returning to the city, however next time I may not enter a dressage competition the day before in preparation for the marathon ahead.

How has everything changed so much?

It wasn’t long ago that I was sat in hospital with my hopes for the future being mere dreams. Now not only am I back at work, and enjoying every minute, I’ve regained my independence and I am riding two incredible horses, not only in para competitions but able-bodied too.

I’ve always thrived on a challenge and pushing the boundaries, perhaps sometimes too much. However, I truly believe that is what has got me back to the stage I am at now — I never stopped fighting and wanting more from my sometimes less than co-oporative body!

Recently, Amo and I have taken our partnership to the next level and competed in our first advanced medium dressage competition together at Summerhouse (pictured top). This was a big test for me as the movements come thick and fast, which is something my body strength and spasms struggle with, however, Amo was an absolute star and I loved every minute.

We scored 64.7%. I was over the moon, and came second overall. I can officially say I have caught the dressage ‘bug’. I never thought I’d say that when I was eventing!

In our second advanced medium at Allens Hill, we got 65.66%. I came out of the test beaming from ear to ear! Emma and Ruth said to me: “Were you actually smiling throughout your flying changes?”

Amo has totally changed my life, I can do anything with her and trust her 100%. She tries her heart out and gives you everything. The morning of Allens Hill I led her on my crutches for the first time—she just followed me and knew to be careful. This was, believe it or not, a huge milestone for me. Horses are amazing creatures.

On the go

A few months ago I never would have believed that my life would become quite so hectic — something I am certainly not going to complain about.

I headed home to Cornwall for an orthotic hospital appointment two weeks ago.

Splint cast

This was to try and get a splint made up in an attempt to support my foot and ankle. The last splint they made me unfortunately wasn’t the answer, so we are back to the drawing board. They casted me for a new splint (pictured above) so fingers crossed!

WLambinghile I was home I enjoyed getting stuck into the lambing. I really miss not being involved like I used to be. I co-opted my brother (Jamie) to hold one of the ewes whilst I lambed her (pictured right) — it was a great feeling.

As for many people that live on farms, the welding mask came out to watch the solar eclipse which was an ingenious idea and very effective!

I also had my obligatory Cornish pasty, saw my gorgeous nephew Jack and enjoyed the very welcome sunshine.

What’s next?

Next on the agenda is Sparsholt para competition on 14 April, with both Amo and Abira. I am very much looking forward to getting them both out again.

I am incredibly grateful to Marilyn Pilgrim for giving me the opportunity to ride her wonderful stallion Forever, however, sadly we decided that he was possibly going to be a bit too much for me. This is a huge shame as he is such a classy stallion and will suit someone down to the ground.

‘Every day is a new beginning, stay away from what might have been and look at what can be’

Suze

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