Essex-based rider Polly Godsafe has bounced back from injury having broken both her arms in a rotational fall last March and is partnering Rock The Casper — a horse who wouldn’t go near a showjump two years ago.
“I was having an arena cross-country lesson and he put in a huge leap, hit the fence and we landed in a heap on the floor the other side,” says Polly, who is riding in the 80cm class this weekend. “I was concussed, so I don’t remember much but I broke my right elbow and left wrist.
Polly was out of action for eight weeks while her bones mended, which also saw “Casper” have some down time.
“I had to get my strength back in my arms and I still struggle with the strength in my right arm a bit. It took a while to get Casper back in form too, he hadn’t jumped for a while and our progress had gone back a few steps,” says Polly.
A winter of dressage and jumping lessons with trainer Penny Brooks has paid off and they are regularly hitting the 70% mark in pure dressage.
However, when Polly took on the Irish-bred gelding it was a very different story and he knew very little.
“Two years ago I took him on as a loan and he looked like a big fat cob — he was something to have fun with over the summer, although I was told he wouldn’t jump showjumps at all, so I thought I would just be hacking him. But I’ve taken things very slowly with him and you have to let him learn things on his own accord,” says Polly of the eight-year-old.
“A friend of mine rode at the H&H Festival of Eventing last year and I really wanted to do it, but Casper was no where near ready for it — whereas he is a different horse now.”
Polly, who is an equine McTimoney Chiropractor, is looking forward to cross-country day tomorrow (Sunday, 27 May) because it is a discipline Casper enjoys.
“He’s an amazing cross-country horse and will jump anything,” she says. “He was a junior whips horse before I got him and I’ve taken him out a few times, but he can get himself in a bit of a state when standing.”
Don’t miss the full report from the H&H Festival of Eventing in Horse & Hound magazine — on sale Thursday, 7 June and follow online at www.horseandhound.co.uk.