Laura Collett hails ‘absolute legend’ groom after trot-up accident

  • Laura Collett has hailed her “absolute legend” groom Tilly Hughes after her long-serving staff member broke her arm when she was kicked at Thoresby this week.

    Tilly, who was crowned H&H’s groom of the year in 2021, was kicked at the first veterinary inspection at the Eventing Spring Carnival at Thoresby Park (30 March to 2 April).

    “We had just arrived at Thoresby and were doing vet checks when unfortunately one of the horses was overexcited to be at a party, bucked and kicked out during trot-up and unfortunately caught Tilly’s arm in the process,” said Laura.

    “She tried to say it was just a bruise but we all knew it was broken so she was shipped off to hospital. She was operated on that night and came straight back to the event the following day with a smile on her face and apologising that she’d left me alone with four horses.”

    Tilly is off games while she recovers, meanwhile Laura doubled up as groom and rider, with the eventing community also stepping in to give her a hand.

    Tilly thanked the doctors and nurses at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, as well as “everyone who helped get through the rest of Thoresby and our amazing team at home for holding down the fort”.

    Laura added: “Luckily for me Tilly is super organised and had even sewn the numbers on the numnahs in preparation for the dressage, which made my life a whole lot easier that I basically had to tack up and get myself ready!

    “We often have four horses at an event, but now I have a whole lot more respect for all the grooms out there because flying solo for two days at an event with four horses, I can confirm that it’s not as easy as they make it look. Rest up Tilly because the horses need you back ASAP.”

    Laura, who led the Grantham Cup dressage with her Badminton winner London 52, made the call that it was the right decision for her horses to withdraw after dressage owing to the weather. She thanked organisers Stuart Buntine and BEDE Events for “keeping the show on the road”, adding she looks forward to heading back next year.

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