Dressage rider recovering from serious head injury

  • Scottish dressage rider Jo Hamilton has been discharged from hospital and is now recovering at home, after sustaining a serious head injury in a riding accident in December.

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

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

    “Jo was in the school working her advanced horse,” her mother Flora told H&H. “She was due to teach someone after she’d worked him, 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.

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

    Jo was in hospital for around nine weeks, but Flora told H&H Jo is now “making good progress, albeit slower than she would like”.

    “It’s a huge road to recovery but her mobility and balance are getting better every day,” she added. “Walking was difficult to start with but now she’s out and about helping with the horses, though it will be a few months before she’s back in the saddle.

    “Jo has been really encouraged by the many cards and messages of support she has received.”

    Although based in Scotland, Jo has continued to train with her former employer, Gloucestershire rider Carl Hester.

    Two of Jo’s rides — her own Corchapin (by Negro) and vet Olwen Lloyd’s home-bred Dahling — were ridden at Patchetts regionals (27 February-3 March) by Kate Cowell, another pupil of Carl’s. Dahling (by Lingh) won the medium open freestyle with 76.11% to Jo’s music.

    Kate also picked up wildcards for the winter championships at Hartpury — one at advanced medium freestyle on Corchapin after coming second, and another on Dahling in the straight class at the level.

    “It’s such an honour to have Jo’s horses while she’s injured,” said Kate, who had been riding the pair for just three weeks before the championships. “They are beautifully trained and Jo did all the hard work qualifying them for the regionals. We both train with Carl so possibly we have similar riding styles.”

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