British Olympic team rider taken to hospital after fall

  • Barely a fortnight before the start of the Olympic showjumping in Rio, Great Britain team member Michael Whitaker has ended up in hospital after a fall from a horse at home.

    “It was just one of those freak accidents,” Michael told H&H from the Royal International Horse Show, Hickstead, where he was supposed to be competing this week.

    “I was riding a horse at home along the railings when he spooked at something and lost his footing.

    I came down with him and ended up between him and the railing.

    “Luckily the railing gave way, or I’d have been in a right mess.”

    The incident happened on Monday (25 July) and the Nottinghamshire-based showjumper who is due to ride the Widdowsons’ stallion Cassionato at the Games in Rio next month, was also due to be on Nations Cup team duties at Hickstead tomorrow (29 July).

    “I thought it [the injury] would come right, but when it didn’t I went to hospital as I needed to know, not only for the Olympics but for this week at Hickstead, too,” said Michael, who is due to compete at his sixth Games.

    “I’ve cracked one rib and there’s bruising and it’s pretty painful. But I’ll definitely be back riding at Hickstead on Saturday.

    “It’s just not very good timing!”

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    The remaining Great Britain team members for tomorrow’s Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup at the Royal International Horse Show are Scott Brash (Hello Guv’nor), Ben Maher (Diva II), Tim Stockdale (Fleur De L’Aube) and Olympic reserve combination Jess Mendoza and Spirit T.

    Michael had been selected with the 14-year-old gelding Viking V, his team gold medal-winning ride at the 2013 European Championships.

    Don’t miss the full in-depth reports from the Royal International Horse Show in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound, out Thursday 4 August, and online at horseandhound.co.uk

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