Road to RIHS: ‘He went backwards, stumbled and fell over onto me’ – rider returns from jumping accident to qualify for Hickstead

  • A rider has overcome the odds to qualify her middleweight hunter for two classes at the 2022 Royal International Horse Show (RIHS).

    Becky Murray’s It’s A Don Deal (Donny) landed his tickets at the Royal Bath & West earlier this year.

    Becky has owned the 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding for five years.

    “He came to me for a break as a youngster and he never left as I fell in love with him,” says Becky, who also qualified Donny for Hickstead last year. “He took a long time to mature into the horse he is today.”

    During a showjumping competition in November 2021, Becky and Donny had an accident mid-way through the course. While Donny was unscathed, Becky suffered serious injuries.

    “He had a moment at one of the fences,” Becky explains. “He went backwards, stumbled and fell over onto me. Luckily he was fine but I came away with three fractured vertebrae, three breaks in my pelvis and some serious internal bruising.

    “I was airlifted to hospital and had an operation three days later. I then had metal work fitted and spent the next eight weeks in bed. I also got Covid during this time.”

    Becky’s recovery involved her learning to walk again and as Donny is “an acquired taste to ride” he spent the time out in the field.

    “He consequently had a big chunk of time out of work,” says Becky, who was able to get back in the saddle for the first time four months after the accident. “I had no worries about getting back on Donny and I couldn’t wait to ride him again. I still struggle with my strength and get tired and frustrated easily — Donny is a big horse to hold together. But while he’s quirky, he’s been as good as gold and he’s looked after me.

    “My goal was to return to the RIHS this year, but while I was sitting in bed it was sometimes hard to visualise this. When I found out we’d qualified, I was very emotional.

    “Donny is a gentle giant and he’s a big mummy’s boy. For me, showing is all about having a nice day out with my horse so any result achieved at Hickstead would be a bonus.”

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