Tales from Team Quest: ‘I put my life on hold when my horse broke his leg’

When Lorraine Twigg competed Whippletree Jupiter at the 2018 Team Quest national championships as part of the Cheshire Cats team, she had no idea that the following year would prove the most harrowing of her life.

Shortly after the championships in October 2018, the 18hh grey gelding was kicked in the field at home, fracturing the radius bone in his off foreleg.

“I saw a cut on his leg when I brought him in, but didn’t realise how bad it was until I started hosing him,” explained Lorraine.

“He had to spend 14 weeks standing still in his stable, with a splint up the back of his leg and another up the side, almost as high as his withers, so he couldn’t move the leg at all.

“I put my life on hold — I or someone else was always in the stable so he was never really alone. He coped really well — he has a very sane head on his shoulders and seemed to accept that he just had to stand there. He never messed about, never fought it. I can only put it down to the Cleveland Bay attitude to life.”

After nearly four months, the splints and bandaging were able to come off, but Jupiter was far from being out of danger.

“I was warned by the vet that if the fracture hadn’t healed properly and Jupiter lay down in his stable, his leg could snap, and if that happened it would never heal,” Lorraine recalled. “When I went out to him the first morning after the splints had come off I didn’t know what I was going to find. But then I saw his head over the door and I just knew he was going to be OK.”

But the ordeal was far from over, with Jupiter developing grade three ulcers afterwards and requiring treatment, followed by another freak accident.

“At the second scoping, Jupiter spotted some grass while on the ramp of the lorry and suddenly moved sideways. He stepped too far and slipped off the ramp, tearing the skin off the inside of his leg in a huge flap,” says Lorraine, who was finally able to bring her horse back into work in May this year.

“He had lost a lot of muscle, and we had to get his saddle refitted as he was a different shape. We had to work so hard to bring him back, but Jupiter worked his socks off. When I first took him out competing after everything he was scoring 75%. I just can’t believe this horse — he is an absolute star, and so precious.”

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Lorraine and Jupiter joined Lucy Allen and Rena Roberts on the Cheshire Cats Team Quest team for a fourth year — wearing pink and white striped onesies — and the trio finished 13th out of 22 teams at the championships.

Lorraine is now aiming to compete Jupiter at elementary and novice freestyle over the winter.

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