Sit tight! Heart in mouth moment as horse jumps photographer

A photographer who thought he had found a safe spot to photograph Aston-le-Walls’ water complex was in for a nasty shock when he was jumped by one of the horses.

Tracey Wilkinson was sitting in front of an intermediate fence during the advanced class on 20 July when the 18.1hh QEH Ocean Voyage locked on to the wrong jump.

“It was the horse’s first advanced and I thought he would go a bit green — as in have a look, not be keen and absolutely launch into the water,” rider Madison Penfound told H&H.

“I gave him a tap [ahead of part A] and he thought ‘this is great!’ and over-jumped. I wasn’t expecting it and on landing he tripped, saved himself and I somehow managed to stay on.

“I tried to pull him right, but he had locked on [to the wrong element] and said ‘hang on, Mum’.”

Thankfully the nine-year-old Irish sport horse, known as Turtle to his friends, gave the fence — and the photographer — plenty of air and nobody was harmed.

Under British Eventing rules, there is no penalty for jumping extra fences, so Maidson received 20 penalties for crossing her tracks, but was allowed to continue.

She apologised to the photographer, refound her stirrups and picked up where she left off to jump the rest of the course clear.

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“At the next water I was really sitting back and I’m glad I did as he launched in again,” said the Gloucestershire-based Canadian rider.

“I messaged the photographer to say sorry afterwards as well and we laughed about it.

“He is the best horse I think I’ve ever owned. He jumps out of the field every day for fun. I turn him out and watch him jumping through the paddocks. He is just a joker.

“I bought him as a five-year-old and have taken him up the levels — he’s really well bred, but he is massive at 18.1hh. I’m so high up and he gives the fences so much room, he just likes to clear everything by two feet!”

The pair are competing at the British intermediate championship at Gatcombe this weekend (2 to 4 August).

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