‘Fairytales can happen’: rider makes winning return after serious head injury

  • Scottish dressage rider Jo Hamilton is back competing seven months after sustaining a serious head injury.

    And the rider has now qualified for this year’s National Dressage Championships.

    Fairytales can happen,” she told H&H.

    Jo was riding at her yard near Edinburgh on 21 December when she fell from her horse Corchapin.

    She was in hospital for around nine weeks, but was discharged in March. In April she was back in the saddle for the first time, taking it slowly at a riding school in a “safe situation”.

    She said at the time: “My body felt like a beginner again but it’s a start and the desire is still there.”

    Although based in Scotland, prior to the accident Jo continued to train with her former employer Carl Hester in Gloucestershire.

    While she was off her horses were campaigned by another of Carl’s pupil’s, Kate Cowell.

    “Corchapin returned home from Gloucestershire at the beginning of July,” said Jo.

    Last weekend (1-3 August) the pair competed for the first time since the accident at the Scottish Regional Championships at Cabin EC, Aberdeen in the advanced medium.

    “We won both the advanced medium 98 warm-up with 73.55% and the advanced medium open regional championship with 73.16%, which qualifies us for the British Dressage National Championships at Stoneleigh in September,” she added.

    “It has been a long journey but so many have helped me along the way. It all seems slow but steady progress is being made.

    “I ride at home and teach around doing my rehab work and exercises and yard work.

    “Up till then I hope to do a few competitions locally and after the Nationals start training with Carl again.”

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    Jo was on her own when she fell, so no one is clear exactly what happened, but she was found shortly after the accident unconscious in the school. She had been wearing a crash hat.

    “She was due to teach someone after she’d worked her horse, and she was found unconscious on the ground. The horse had sand on his knees and on his saddle so we assume he must have fallen,” her mother Flora told H&H at the time.

    “It all happened really quickly. Jo always wears a helmet, thank goodness, as it could have been so much worse without that hat.”

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