Badminton Horse Trials blog: Sarah Stretton’s ambulance trip

  • I’ll start with the good news. My entry for Badminton has been accepted. So all of us on the yard are absolutely chuffed to bits. My mate Dawn was the first person to find out so I received a very excited text from her. The next stage was to check out the dressage test — I refused to look or practise it until I knew I was officially entered.

    Bobby (Lazy Acres Skip On) has been working really well this week — and his behaviour’s been good too, fortunately no bucking broncos. He’s been swimming again and is now on 12 lengths, which is great news, and on top of that, his regular laps around our fields keep him used to the ever changing ground conditions.

    Dressage wise, I’ve been practising the movements that are featured in the test just to see which ones he may struggle with or need improving. Bobby is very clever at learning the test if I repeat it too many times, so I occasionally have to change movements so it keeps him guessing.

    This week we were at Swalcliffe. I had the luxury of just taking one horse Arturo, Amber took her two ponies and my cousin Emma took her young horse Zyacint and, of course, not forgetting the usual entourage of helpers and supporters.

    The weather was not so great — unfortunately the rain just kept pouring but it didn’t dampen our spirits. It was so disappointing the sun wasn’t shining because the Swalcliffe team had made such a big effort with everything, the presentation of the cross-country course was beautiful and the layout was easily accessible from the lorry park. Amber came eighth in the BE90 with Jacko (Lazy Acres Snow Patrol) and Emma won her BE100 section, so smiles all round. However that was before I went!

    And now the bad news

    Unfortunately I have managed to sustain a very nasty injury to my knee after my horse decided he didn’t want to play anymore on the cross-country. This meant I had a trip in an ambulance (see picture above) and just over 5 hours in hospital having my knee poked and prodded. Fortunately, there was no tendon damage, but they did have to put 15 stitches across my knee.

    This has obviously come at a very bad time with Badminton looming closer by the minute, however, I am still hoping to make it. Owen Moore has very kindly stepped into my shoes and will be competing Johnny (Highbury), Spider (Lazy Acres Crusader) and Bobby at Gatcombe, while I’m a spectator on my crutches.

    Meanwhile at home, my aunt Naomi is doing a fab job of working them and keeping them in tip top condition as well as lots of help from the ladies on the yard including Bev, Dawn and my aunt Angie who are doing various jobs to relieve some of the workload.

    Of course I can’t forget to mention Sammy Boy, my wingman. He’s been a great help doing the everyday jobs at weekends and after school.

    As for me, I can do nothing apart from watch, and for someone who is usually so busy, it’s incredibly hard and boring missing out. As I can’t drive, my mum is now my chauffeur so she’s been a diamond running me backwards and forwards, trying to keep me entertained and doing her stint on the yard.

    So to all those people who are helping me in this very disappointing and annoying situation, I would just like to say a massive thank you and I certainly wouldn’t be able to do it without you.


    Read Sarah’s other diaries

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