A pony who was thrown on to the road when the trailer he was travelling in was destroyed in a collision has since claimed a top-five British Eventing finish — and qualified for the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS).
Physiotherapist Becca Norris, 22, who keeps her pony with Buckinghamshire-based Esme Humpston, was on the way back from a show at Keysoe on 23 March when a driver crashed into the trailer carrying Ballybane Shadow.
The trailer was destroyed and Shadow was thrown on to the road.
“By the time we got out of the car he had disappeared into the night,” Esme told H&H.
“On hearing the impact, I just felt sick that we had lost him,” added Becca. “I thought there was no way he could still be alive — or at least not be severely injured. I just screamed when I saw the trailer and he wasn’t in there.
“I honestly thought I was about to find his lifeless body in the road.
“Then, by some absolute miracle, we saw him trotting away from us up the road. I ran after him and thankfully managed to catch him as more traffic began to appear. We checked him over, seeing only surface wounds but still fearing the worst.
“He waited patiently at the roadside, greeting each police officer or witness with a smile and a nuzzle while the police investigation, recovery of vehicles and clear-up was carried out.
“Our good friend Ross Pearce dropped everything and borrowed Ross Irving’s lorry to rescue Shadow who loaded without hesitation.”
“Our lovely vet Katie Robinson came and assessed him on returning home and gave him the all-clear, and Sherry Scott, our physio, came the next morning to look at his wounds and for any musculoskeletal injuries. She was amazed that the scrapes and a small amount of swelling was all she could find.”
Just three weeks later, the 148cm eight-year-old jumped clear across country in the BE90 at Ascott Under Wychwood (14 April), and produced an immaculate double clear to be fourth in the Broadway BE90 on May 4.
But the icing on the cake was added on 19 May at the National Pony Society (NPS) Area 11 show at Solihull where the combination jumped the only clear round over a difficult course to win a very strong mountain and moorland RIHS qualifier against top competition.
“His temperament is second to none,” said Becca. “He is very chilled with a laughable amount of cheekiness, but he is a real performance pony.
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“I am incredibly lucky to still have him after everything that has happened and anything that he achieves from now is a bonus — he is such a super pony with a bright future ahead of him.”
“Just two weeks before the crash, we learned that my own pony, Hazelrock Sparkle, whom I sold in November, had sadly died,” said Esme. “She was placed with Becca at both RIHS and Horse of the Year Show last year and we thought the world of her.
“I don’t think we’d have coped if Shadow had died too.”
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