Top rider’s comeback continues with entries to first event: ‘To be able to prepare for the season is a dream come true’

  • Bubby Upton is set to make her comeback from serious injury – she has three horses entered to run at Poplar Park on the first weekend of the eventing season (2-3 March).

    The young event rider suffered a fall when schooling on the flat at home in August last year. She sustained a complete burst fracture of vertebra L3 and a horizontal fracture of L2, among other vertebrae fractures.

    “The one that was the big concern was the burst fracture because of the unpredictability of it. The fragments went everywhere and it caused a huge amount of swelling and pressure on my spinal cord, and so emergency surgery was required,” explained Bubby, in an interview published in full in H&H magazine this week (issue dated 8 February).

    Since the initial surgery, preparing for her comeback has meant a tough rehabilitation programme for Bubby Upton. She started riding again in early November last year.

    “The intensity is increasing and we’re upping the load a bit by doing things like back-to-back dressage tests then some jumping, so my body gets used to coping with the load that it would have during a competition,” she said.

    “Because of the metalwork, I’ve really struggled with sitting canter and trot as there’s no mobility in my back to absorb that force, so we’re working hard to replicate things as much as possible in the gym. We’ve found throughout my recovery that the more we do on the movement side, the more my back begins to cope – whereas when you do something for the first time, it feels almost impossible.

    “I have physio three times a week and go to the gym every day. My team and I won’t stop pushing until we are satisfied with my new ‘normal’.”

    Bubby is entered for the open intermediate at Poplar Park on her five-star campaigner Cola III, Bramham Horse Trials under-25 champion Magic Roundabout IV and rising star Its Cooley Time.

    “It’s all a bit of an unknown,” she said. “Even getting this far feels like the biggest win, so in terms of the season I don’t want to say, ‘I want to be at this event or that one,’ because if it does happen then that will be a true fairy tale.

    “For me, being in a position where I feel like I can prepare for the season ahead feels like a dream come true. Even if I don’t get to go to certain events that I have planned in my head, then just being back doing what I love is enough for me. I’ve got a hell of a lot still left to achieve and to give in the sport, so I’m definitely not done yet.”

    Read the full exclusive interview with Bubby in this week’s Horse & Hound magazine (dated 8 February). 

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