‘Vets said he was finished’: horse who sliced tendon in plane accident comes back to World Championships

  • Norwegian rider Victoria Gulliksen jumped clear in the Agria FEI World Showjumping Championships today — on a horse vets said was “finished” when he sliced open a tendon in an aeroplane accident.

    Victoria, daughter of showjumping legend Geir Gulliksen, and 13-year-old Equine America Papa Roach put in a class round to sit in 31st place after the opening speed round.

    Victoria has had the ride on the “very talented” Perigueux x Zeus gelding since he was six, and said he had started jumping some big tracks by the time he was eight.

    “Then when he was 10, unfortunately he had a very, very bad accident,” she said. “He was flying home from Athens; we had won and qualified for the [Global Champions Tour] Super League. A metal piece came loose in the plane and cut through his whole back tendon.

    “All the vet said ‘Your horse is finished. It’s never coming back. It’s done.’”

    But, Victoria said “Pappy”, as he is known at home  – “Or Lipsy, because he’s got very big lips!” – is a fighter, and after 21 months, he was back in competition, jumping at last year’s Europeans en route to the World Showjumping Championships.

    “We took a very long time; we went hacking in the woods a lot, just hacking,” she said. “And then he came back and we did it very slowly. So for me when I go in the ring, every round is a bonus because he was supposed to [be retired] in the field.

    “He was a very good boy today; he saved me a lot. He does when I put him far off and close, he always tries. He was trying hard to do the jumps perfectly and I’m very, very happy.”

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