‘What a horse! I’m proud as Punch’: Bubby Upton seals comeback from serious injury with classy Badminton result

  • Bubby Upton showed just what tough cookie she is as she jumped one of only three double clears on the final day at Mars Badminton Horse Trials 2024 to finish 10th on 53.9, just over 10pen behind the winner Caroline Powell. This is an incredible feat just eight months after Bubby’s career-threatening fall, during which time she had to learn to walk –and ride – again.

    “What a horse!” Bubby said, her voice catching with emotion. “I’ve said it time and time again but he jumped his socks off. He’s been faultless all week, I can’t fault him, I’m proud as Punch of what he’s gone and done this week after everything we’ve been through.”

    Bubby had a great round on Saturday’s cross-country, but was pegged back by 11pen for breaking a frangible device at the Agria Silver Birch Rails. And while Cola is a super jumper, his five-star showjumping record is sketchy, with one clear from three attempts before today.

    “He’s a very good jumper but we have really struggled with it,” said Bubby. “Stepping him up the levels at three-star and four-star he was great, but on the long format because he busts a gut out there on the cross-country, he leaves nothing left in his tank for the last day. So we’ve often then come into trouble because he gets flat. But one thing I can always count on as that he tries his heart out and he did that again today.”

    Bubby Upton on her showjumping progress

    Bubby explained how she has worked “tirelessly with Tina Fletcher” to improve the Catoki gelding’s showjumping form.

    “We’ve tried to compact the canter and it plays into the same thing as with the dressage to get that better level of collection and the strength behind, which has made him push up instead of at the front rail,” she said. “It was never through lack of trying or ability, because on the one-days, he’d always jump amazing clears and then when it came to the three-days, he’d struggle.

    “And the one thing my accident did help is it meant we were able to go right back to basics because I couldn’t do anything complicated or difficult. So maybe that’s the only good to come out of the whole thing.”

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