‘I’d have won if my leg wasn’t broken!’ Top rider jumps clear with fractured fibula

Hickstead-based Irish showjumper Shane Breen finished fifth in a 1.45m five-star showjumping class in Saint-Tropez on Thursday (12 September) — only finding out later that he’d been riding with a broken leg.

Shane, who turns 45 today (16 September), had been warming up the 10-year-old mare Evita when the accident happened at the Longines Global Champions Tour event in the South of France.

“As I passed the horse in front he swished his tail and my one [Evita] just spooked a bit to the left,” Shane told H&H. “My leg connected with the hip bone of an oncoming horse — and obviously his hip was stronger than my leg!”

“I’d have won the class if my leg wasn’t broken!” he added.

According to Shane, it felt “a bit more sore than normal” so he jumped off the mare for a bit as there was still plenty of time before it was his turn to go in the ring.

“We’ve often had bumps and things so I just got back on and finished warming up,” explained Shane. “It felt particularly sore when I was landing over the jumps and not getting any easier, but I just thought ‘Come on, toughen up!” and I went in to the ring and jumped.”

He returned a fast double clear over the two-phase track with Evita, a relatively new ride for Shane, before heading to the show’s medics “just to get it checked out.”

“They got me to the hospital pretty quick to get some X-rays done, knowing I only had an hour and a half until the next class,” said Shane. “But they said ‘No, you won’t be jumping any more this week!’ I’d broken by fibula.

“The good news is that the bone hasn’t moved — it’s just a nice clean crack so everything should heal very quickly.”

Having booked a whole row of seats to fly home from Saint-Tropez — “It was the most comfortable flight I’ve ever had with EasyJet!” — Shane is hoping to be back competing at the Longines Global Champions Tour in New York at the end of next week (27 to 29 September).

“I’ll know nearer the end of this week if that’s going to be possible,” Shane said. “Ideally you’d give it three or four weeks but hopefully it’ll be comfortable enough for me to ride.

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“I’m not saying it’s not going to be painful, but if I’m comfortable and I’m not a risk to myself, the horse or anybody else, I’ll definitely do it. I’m not going to be stupid though, and if there’s any question of risk I won’t do it.”

To aid the healing process, Shane is wearing a surgical boot, has been regularly icing the leg and has even been using one of his horses’ circulation rugs.

“I have a Bemer rug that comes with an attachment that goes on the horse’s leg, so I have that on as we speak,” said Shane. “It’s definitely helping — it’s all to do with blood circulation, which is obviously the main component to healing, so all in all it feels good and it’s basically just a case of resting it.

“And it’s not often I have a day off on my birthday!”

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