British team rider recovering from fracturing four vertebrae in fall: ‘I feel very lucky’

Nicola Wilson is on the way home to Yorkshire to continue her recovery after fracturing four vertebrae in a fall while competing in Belgium last weekend.

Britain’s reigning European eventing individual bronze medallist was riding Chiraz in the six-year-old CCI2*-S in Arville when the pair had a fall across country at fence 10, having been third after dressage. The grey gelding was not injured.

“I landed on the top of my neck, resulting in fractures to the C1, 2, 3 and 7,” said Nicola, who stayed in hospital in Belgium until Wednesday this week, then had more tests in London before heading home today.

Nicola told H&H she is expected to make a full recovery and added: “Thank you to everyone who has been so fantastic — I’m lucky in so many respects.”

Nicola and her husband Alastair were disappointed to miss Piggy French and Tom March’s Badminton party on Wednesday, which turned out also to be their wedding when they surprised guests with the news they were tying the knot that afternoon.

“I’m so excited for you both and hope you saved me some cake,” said Nicola.

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Nicola was due to ride her top horse, Bulana, on the British squad at Aachen next month (19-20 July). She has now been replaced by Imogen Murray on the MS Team and Aivar Ward’s Ivar Gooden.

William Fox-Pitt has also pulled out of Aachen because Little Fire has suffered a “minor setback and small loss of fitness”. Gemma Tattersall and Chris Stone’s Jalapeno III have been called up in their place.

Imogen and Gemma will compete alongisde Laura Collett (London 52), Piggy French (Quarrycrest Echo) and Harry Meade (Away Cruising) at the leading German event.

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