Four-star event rider ‘lucky to be alive’ after bit breaks

  • Four-star event rider, Dee Kennedy endured “the most terrifying experience of her life” last night (23 July).

    Dee had taken her four-star partner, Chequers Playboy (Kenny, pictured) to all-weather gallops at Kelsall Hill in Cheshire. Half-way up the hill on their third canter of the session, Kenny’s bit broke clean in two.

    “Kenny is very strong, even at the best of times. I ride him in a twisted Barry gag and I always still have a double handful,” said Dee, who runs an event yard from her Cheshire base.

    When the bit broke, Dee went to pull the reins and each half of the bit came up the sides of Kenny’s face to behind his ears.

    “Initially feeling the bit behind his ears sent him forward, so I did my best to pat him and calm him down,” explained Dee.

    Unfortunately Kenny soon realised he was free and bolted. He left the gallops at high speed and turned off onto a grass farm track.

    “I had a neckstrap, so tried to use that to slow him down, but it was having absolutely no affect at all. All I could do was keep talking to him,” added Dee.

    The rider said she didn’t want to bail out for two reasons. “Firstly I didn’t know where he would end up if I went out the side door, but also it would have hurt,” she said.

    By this point Dee and Kenny were heading downhill towards a woman coming up the hill on a hack.

    “I shouted to the lady ‘please can you get in my way’, but unfortunately she thought I was telling her to get out of the way,” explained Dee.

    Thankfully the distraction of another horse was enough to slow Kenny down to a trot, at which point Dee jumped off.

    “My legs were like jelly. I put the reins through Kenny’s mouth to keep hold of him while I led him about half a mile back to the horsebox,” said Dee, who had made the trip to the gallops on her own.

    “I called my husband Hayden and asked him to come and help me re-group and to make sure I was still human.

    Luckily horse and rider both escaped without injury.

    Dee, who was formerly in a pop band that toured with Boyzone, is aiming Kenny at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in September, which will mark his fifth attempt at four-star level.

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