A rider competing in her first one-day event managed to jump clear cross-country having dislocated her shoulder over the first fence.
Rachel Beauchamp and Grey Ambassador (Cruise) were taking part in an unaffiliated competition at Shelford Manor on Monday (27 August), in preparation for attempting the Wobbleberry challenge this season.
Rachel said that when she walked the 80cm course the previous day, she felt it was well up to height and “might be too much for me”, but shrugged off the “nightmares”, packed up the lorry and set off.
After a dressage test without studs, and a four-fault showjumping round, Rachel left the cross-country start box for the first time.
“I think I was a bit late away, and maybe not as positive as I should have been, and very nervous!” she told H&H.
“So we had a really awkward hoick over the first fence. He got quite deep to it – he’ll jump from anywhere but will always get deep rather than go on a flyer – and he uses all his body anyway, so it jumped me out of the saddle.
“I’ve been in a similar position lots of times – I’ve hit the deck a few times lately – but I was buggered if I was falling off.”
Rachel managed to recover her seat but felt a “horrible pain” in her left arm.
“I dislocated my other shoulder a few times when I was younger so I knew what that feels like but I was concentrating on getting stable again,” she said. “My horse was protesting slightly, I felt him give a little buck and kick out, and by the time I was sorted, we were pretty much on top of the second fence so I didn’t have much time to do anything.”
Rachel carried on, thinking the arm “wasn’t feeling good” and wondering whether she should pull up.
“But I think adrenaline and excitement and determination kicked in and I thought: ‘I’m going now’. He was quite keen and I’m not sure I could have pulled up anyway, so I thought I’d just keep going, and I did,” she said.
Rachel managed to finish with no jumping faults, although she said she was glad the sharp turn after the water, to a skinny log, was to the right rather than the left.
“I’m amazed!” she said. “I was in a lot of pain but absolutely astonished to have done it.”
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After being persuaded to sit down while a friend saw to Cruise, Rachel realised she had done some damage so went to see the event medics.
“I told the doctor what I thought I’d done and she said there’s no way I’d have been able to finish with a dislocated shoulder as the pain would have ‘floored me’,” she said. “We went over to the ambulance, where they got my body protector off, and they all said: ‘Oh. Actually you have dislocated it.’ They were amazed, saying it was incredible I’d managed to carry on riding.”
Rachel is now facing some six weeks before she can ride again but does not think she will be able to complete her Wobbleberry challenge this season.
“I could think about Norton Disney [19 to 21 October] but even if I’m fit, he’ll have lost some fitness and I don’t want to risk my precious boy,” she said.
“I’d have been delighted with my result; the ground was wet in the dressage and we didn’t have studs so I felt I let him down, but we did our first one-day event and came home in one piece; and for me, that’s an achievement in itself.”
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