Tales from Hickstead: Rider overcomes fractured spine to qualify for the Royal International

  • ISSY HIND, 18, recovered from a fractured spine to gain two tickets to her first Royal International Horse Show with her home-produced 14-year-old Connemara gelding Sydserff Gismo.

    Issy’s pony spooked causing her to fall off and land awkwardly. The accident caused a compression fracture to her spine and she couldn’t ride for five months.

    “It was very strange not being able to ride and muck out as I was so used to doing it every day,” she said. “It was also hard getting back into it mentally and then we went into lockdown, but that actually really helped because it gave me the opportunity to get back into riding without the pressure of competitions.”

    Issy started riding again in June 2020 and by the end of August, she’d secured her first qualification at NPS Area 15 in the UKPH junior large breed class where she also took reserve champion, and then went on to gain a wild card ticket for the UKPH amateur class.

    “Gismo is the most perfect junior pony and has helped me with my confidence and given me invaluable experience,” said Issy who is about to embark on a gap year before heading to university to study philosophy. “We didn’t do very much last year because of Covid-19, so he still feels quite new to me.”

    The pair finished eighth in the NPS Area 15 in the UKPH junior large breed class.

    “It was amazing to get placed – I was just going for the experience and to enjoy it, so to get a placing is amazing,” she said. “With it being my first time at Hickstead, I was quite nervous and wasn’t sure what to expect, but he was such a dream. I was really happy with both of his shows, so I couldn’t have asked for more.”

    Gismo was purchased after Horse of the Year Show in 2019 from the Price family.

    “I also have another Connie that I show and was often in the ring with Gizmo, so I got to know him that way, and when Phoebe [Price] came out of juniors, we went to try him and fell in love with him,” said Issy. “The Prices have been so helpful with settling him in and they see him at shows.”

    Alongside showing, Issy also competes Gizmo in affiliated dressage at prelim level.

    “It’s good to get him out and do something else other than showing,” she said. “I’d like to work my way up through the ranks in dressage alongside showing.”

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