It has been a low week for Team China. We took Jeans to the CIC*** at Luhmühlen which they run along the four-star event. My groom Mark and I were really looking forward to a nice week away with one horse. Little did we think that, by the end of the week, Jeans would be out of contention for the World Games this year and quite possibly next year with a crushing injury.
With only the one horse, we couldn’t quite justify taking our six horse lorry. Very kindly, Paul Tapner (the Badminton champion!) offered us a lift in his. So on Monday afternoon, Paul, Georgina (his wife), and the “fun bus” turned up on the yard to pick us and the gear up. Two hours to Dover, two hours on the ferry and many hours (having got a bit lost) on the other side finally saw us at the premier German three-day event, Luhmühlen.
With a couple of days to settle in, acclimatise and concentrate, Jeans went into his dressage test feeling light on his toes but focused, and did what I thought was a very good test. We got a good mark,but I couldn’t suppress the feeling of minor disappointment not to get a better one. Walking the cross-country course, I thought it was big and bold but not too technical; perfect for Jeans with a bit of space to gallop.
We set out on course with the wind up our tails and were really motoring on. Jeans over jumped a ditch in the coffin at fence six and so we ended up being on a half stride for the very, very skinny skinny, however Jeans was very genuine and popped it straight as a die. We galloped on, jumped into the big drop at the water and jumped out giving the box a bit of a bang. As I asked Jeans to move away on landing, I wasn’t sure whether he was quite right. I let him canter on, but he was definitely not right and so I pulled him up.
I got straight off him and my heart hit the floor. Jeans was very lame indeed. Luckily, I had pulled up next to the cross-country warm-up and some friendly faces quickly ran over to help. Within a couple of minutes, we had him loaded him onto the ambulance and made our way back to the stables.
Thankfully, the vets were onsite immediately and assessed the situation straight away. Jeans had damaged his tendons in his near fore leg. A more accurate assessment wouldn’t be possible until a few days later when the inflammation would have gone down and we could scan him. So the vets bandaged him up as best they could to put pressure on the inflammation and to support him for the journey home.
Poor Jeans will be out of the sport for 12 to 18 months, a long time. However, although the injury is severe, Jeans is a sprightly and athletic horse who loves what he does. With the correct amount of time to recover, and without rushing his rehabilitation, I have no doubt that he will be back! Paul Tapner has an equine hydraspa which has had a lot of good results with such injuries and so Jeans simply stayed on his lorry to stable at his. I’m sure he’ll love the attention he will be getting, chilling out in the spa with a cigar and dry Martini!
Now for some positive news! A couple of new rides have arrived this week. Little Violet is a beautiful little four-year-old mare who will be aiming at a couple of Burghley young event horse qualifiers later in the season. She’s a cracking little horse and certainly has a lot to say for herself!
The other horse is “Rodney” or Willow’s Accent, who will be aiming for the international seven-year-old championships at Le Lion D’Angers in October. He arrived this morning. When Rosie, his owner, brought him down for me to try, I thought, wow, that is exactly my type of horse! He is a big, smart, warmblood type with a huge jump and huge movement. I will hopefully keep you updated on their season as we go along.
Full report from Luhmühlen in H&H this week, 24 June issue