Greek rider Theodora Livanos made her debut in the London Horse Show dressage, supported by Horse & Hound, this morning – but had an extra hurdle to contend with when she suffered a tack malfunction during her warm-up with Dono Di Maggio OLD.
“I had a little mishap before going in – my noseband broke,” she told H&H. “The stitching came undone and I had to change it. It was one of those unlucky bumps you have to deal with.”
Even before this, the 20-year-old rider had a number of challenges to deal with in the build-up to the show.
Theodora is a student in the USA, studying art history at Columbia University.
“Emile keeps Dono going wonderfully and I fly back and forth, getting on five days before a show and riding,” said Theodora, who has also had to deal with a serious medical condition that has kept her out of the saddle for many months recently.
“This year has been a bit difficult because I’ve been off with my leg, but I’ve been back in England for about 10 days now. It makes it challenging and exciting.”
Theodora was diagnosed with osteomyelitis (a bone infection) in her leg in February 2020, undergoing major surgery and months of rehabilitation. She doesn’t ride while she is in the USA, but says swimming is good for her fitness without putting pressure on her leg.
Of her test this morning in the London Horse Show dressage, she said: “There was some lovely things. A few mistakes on my behalf, but coming back to the partnership takes a bit of time.
“The last two years has been difficult, but I’ve really enjoyed riding here – it’s such an honour and a pleasure. I’m excited to be able to ride here. Hopefully it’s the start with many more great shows with Dono.”
The now 14-year-old Dono Di Maggio OLD was a team bronze medallist for Britain at the 2018 World Equestrian Games with Emile. Theodora bought him after that and competed him in 2019, while more recently Emile has been in the saddle at shows again, keeping the horse on form for his owner’s return to action.
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