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Tales from H&H Festival of Eventing: rider side-lined for nine months returns after eight weeks

Showjumper Ellie Parry, 22, from Warwickshire was heartbroken to be told she faced nine months out of action after a riding accident “shattered” her elbow in December.

After five-hour surgery and 10 nights in hospital the rider was determined to prove the specialists wrong – and just eight weeks later returned to the saddle.

“I hadn’t been well leading up to the accident on 4 December and my mare Smirnoff was really fresh – she can be sharp. She bucked and I fell and shattered my arm,” Ellie told H&H.

“My mum described it like one of those china dolls with the bent arms and legs.”

Surgeons placed plates in Ellie’s arm but warned her that she might not regain full movement.

“It was awful. I thought I’d have to get rid of my horses – I don’t think I would have really but it’s the sort of things you think about.

“When I was told I couldn’t ride for nine months or possibly longer I thought that’s the whole season gone.”

Ellie said the minute the pain stopped, she returned to the yard.

“My non-horsey mum had taken over doing everything, but I started mucking out with one arm. It helped make me stronger I think – when I saw the specialist in February he said another person that had the same surgery didn’t have the same movement that I had regained,” said Ellie.

“I asked when I could ride again and the surgeon joked that I should never ride again! I got back on board on 7 February, it was tough but I only walked. I know Smirnoff inside out and I know what I’m getting with her.”

Ellie is taking part in the 100cm class and lies in 13th place on a score of 34.5.

“We’ve not been eventing together long but I’ve been competing in British Showjumping at newcomers with her. We did a British Eventing (BE)100 at Solihull leading up to the event and she was very fresh.

“This is our first time here at the H&H Festival of Eventing. She’s not a dressage horse but I’m happy with how today went, she can be too busy and always knows what’s coming up next.”

Don’t miss the full report from the H&H Festival of Eventing in Horse & Hound magazine — on sale Thursday, 6 June

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