Back with a bang: Olympic champions return to the ring in style

  • Olympic champions Ben Maher and Explosion W have returned to the ring in fine style, jumping clear in a 1.50m class in Sentower, Belgium.

    Ben had a fall in early February, when he was jumping at the Winter Equestrian Festival at Wellington International, Florida. He sustained a shoulder injury and underwent surgery but was back in the saddle schooling horses seven weeks later.

    He made a successful return to the ring at Sentower last week; on Thursday (4 May), jumping Dallas Vegas Batilly in a 1.35m class, Explosion W and Ginger-Blue in a 1.40m and his 2022 World Championship ride Faltic HB in a 1.45m.

    Over the following two days, he jumped Explosion and Ginger-Blue at 1.50m, and the other two at 1.40m, all four horses jumping clear in both their classes with just two time-faults for Explosion in his 1.50m. Ginger-Blue won her 1.50m class.

    “Great to be back in the ring!” Ben said.

    Explosion has not competed internationally since the Aachen grand prix in July 2022. He was ruled out of the World Championships the next month, but Ben and Faltic jumped superbly to help win team bronze and finish fourth individually, a whisker behind the medals.

    Ben told H&H at the end of the year it had emerged his Olympic gold medal-winning ride had had some bruising, so he wanted to give him time, with a comeback planned for what Ben hoped would be an “exciting year”.

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