Lauren Blades (née Shannon) is recovering at home after suffering several injuries in a fall at Lincolnshire Horse Trials on 13 March, just two months after giving birth to her first child, Sloane.
“I was back riding 10 days after having her,” said Lauren, who was a young rider team gold medallist and has ridden at four-star (now five-star) level. “That was really easy because the staff on the yard – my head girl Lydia Rose and apprentices Izzy Stone and Stephanie Jordan – have been great and my husband Tom and the owners have been really supportive.”
Lauren started off riding her own horses at home, and then some others who had been with Will and Ginnie Turnbull and dressage rider Wade Barley returned around the end of January.
“I felt very lucky as I got to sit on horses which had been produced for me,” she said.
Lauren ran three horses at Oasby with clear cross-country rounds and a fourth place at the BE100open, but had an accident on her first cross-country round at Lincolnshire the following weekend, while riding Lissycremin QT in the novice.
“He had been over everything that was testing on the course, and three fences from home he left a leg,” said Lauren. “It was a simple corner and we had a good stride and canter, but one of his legs didn’t come high enough. He’s a young horse and not very experienced – this is only his second season eventing and he only did half a season last year because of my pregancy. He made a mistake; it was just one of those things.”
Lauren was airlifted to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham – where Sloane had also been born – where it was found she had broken her pelvis, collarbone, a bone in her back and a rib.
“The hospital was incredible – I made a couple of trips in and out as they didn’t want me to spend any more time in there than necessary because of Sloane. They were very supportive, saying if I wanted to keep breastfeeding, they would try to find a way to make that happen,” explained Lauren.
“Breastfeeding was quite difficult because of the broken collarbone and I need someone to help with little things like flipping her over from one side to the other. The hardest part was figuring out what painkillers I could have but we’ve got that sorted now.
“I am quite lucky that all my breaks except for the collarbone, which has been plated, will heal on their own.”
Lauren can only use one crutch because of her collarbone, but is now starting to move around the house.
“The doctors say it will be eight weeks before I’m able to ride and to be honest, I’m not in any rush now,” added Lauren, referring to the current competition shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Article continues below…
You might also be interested in:
‘The employment status of grooms is critical in determining what government support is available’
If you want to keep up with the latest from the equestrian world without leaving home, grab a H&H subscription
‘Making any decision to cancel events is always difficult, but we have to help our organisers and venues to stay
“A small part of our business is a full livery yard and the hardest part was that we had to take the decision to close the yard. We did that a few days earlier than most people because of having a newborn baby, and we also felt my immune system might not be great right now. Also one of our liveries is a surgeon, so we’ve got to protect her. The liveries have ben really supportive of us shutting the yard down.”
Would you like to read Horse & Hound’s independent journalism without any adverts? Join Horse & Hound Plus today and you can read all articles on completely ad-free.