They say that bad luck often comes in threes and poor showjumper Angie Mills was struck by the full hat-trick of misfortune while competing at the Dodson & Horrell National Amateur and Veteran Championships at Aintree International Equestrian Centre at the weekend (14-19 November).
The rider, who is based in Co. Durham, arrived at the Liverpool venue — home to the famous Grand National race in April — suffering from pleurisy, an inflammation of the tissue layers lining the lungs and inner chest wall.
Brave Angie battled on, however, and after narrowly losing out to Jo Fennell and Bantasia in the mini veterans championship at this popular show, she and the 13-year-old gelding Quids In II — who is known at home as Cash — turned the tables to win the national minor veterans final.
“With a later draw in the minor jump-off, I knew what I had to do,” said championship regular Angie, who has had the “ultra-careful” Cash for the past nine years.
“We galloped through the start beams and kept the pace up all round.”
Angie’s rollercoaster weekend then continued with more high drama. She had also qualified for the D&H 1.05m championship final at Aintree as well as the 95cm, in which Angie was hoping to defend her title, but as Cash suffered a bout of colic overnight, Angie decided to return home to Haswell in the north-east early, where the saga continued.
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“We had just unloaded the horses when one of the tyres on the lorry exploded,” explained Angie. “I dread to think what would have happened if it had gone on one of the narrow roads near home.”
Don’t miss the full report from the Dodson & Horrell National Amateur and Veteran Championships — and all the action from around the country — in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound, out Thursday 23 November.