A broken ankle, then a fractured tooth – comeback queens land a Royal Windsor double

  • Returning to win the LeMieux national 1.40m open showjumping class at Royal Windsor Horse Show for the second year in a row were the lightning-quick duo of Sally Goding and Spring Willow.

    The pair are the comeback queens of Royal Windsor as last year Sally had made a remarkable return from a broken ankle to win the class in the main ring, while this year her nine-year-old home-bred mare Spring Willow was returning from surgery to remove a fractured tooth.

    “She had to have a tooth out last year and she had a few complications as a result, so she’s had a bit of a break,” said Sally. “So she was a bit over-excited and I wondered how she’d be today but I’m really pleased with how she went.”

    The pair triumphed by 0.34sec from Emily Sage riding I Am A Harley, with Adrian Whiteway third on Floris II in this exciting single phase competition that thrilled the crowds.

    “I watched the class and saw it was really fast but I thought I’m not going to go in and go crazy for the win but just try to keep her calm and jumping straight – but she’s just naturally very quick,” said Sally, who uses a padded headpiece on the sensitive chestnut mare.

    “Her tooth was fractured and had grown in at an angle so she had quite big surgery then she needed her sinuses flushed and got an infection in her head so she had to do nothing at all for a bit – so she’s only coming back this year.

    “At last year’s show I’d just come back from a broken ankle and wasn’t supposed to be walking, let alone riding, and I’m so glad I did that because I got to jump and win in the main ring [this year’s class was held in the Martin Collins Enterprises Frogmore Arena].

    “She’s just amazing, she loves it – as soon as the bell goes she’s off.”

    The opening national jumping class, the Al Shira’aa senior Foxhunter, was won by Hollie Pearce riding the aptly named eight-year-old gelding El Macho Van Plockroy Z.

    “He’s really quick and careful on his day – he has all the ability to go and win that class because he’s quick enough and can come inside and be agile enough to jump round,” said Hollie, whose mother Rachel bought the eight-year-old four years ago. “He’s such a good boy and he’s brave, so you can dare him. Turning back to the verticals was tight but he’s almost better that way.

    “He was a stallion till late in his six-year-old year, so he’s quite chunky  still and he does live up to his name,” revealed Hollie, who credited trainers Adam Botham and Tony Pearson for her success at Royal Windsor Horse Show.

    You can read the full report from Royal Windsor Horse Show in next week’s Horse & Hound, in the shops Thursday 18 May.

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