Rider’s ribs popped back in to scoop HOYS ticket, days after accidental horse headbutt lands her in hospital

  • Injured ribs did nothing to cramp Nicole Pavitt’s form, as she headed a 123-strong newcomers second round and bagged a one-two in the Equine America national 1.40m open at Felbridge in West Sussex last weekend (3-5 June).

    Nicole needed X-rays and a chiropractic visit following an accidental headbutt from a horse at Wales and West the previous weekend, but managed to get herself back in the saddle to pick up her first Horse Of The Year Show (HOYS) qualification of the season.

    “I didn’t realise I had popped my ribs out until I was really sore on the Monday after the show, and ended up going to hospital,” she said. “They put them back in on the Tuesday and I rode at Felbridge on the Friday. They said they couldn’t manipulate the ribs until the inflammation had gone down, but ended up doing it a bit early as I said I needed to ride at the weekend!”

    Nicole delivered the fastest of five treble clears in the newcomers second round with Raeane Turner’s Johnson II, whom she has been riding for six weeks.

    Nicole’s brother-in-law David Simpson had been sitting in second place with Billy Blossom, until last-to-jump Polly Shaw and Billy Barlow nipped ahead, just 0.84sec behind Nicole’s time.

    A fifth newcomers title for Pavitt?

    It was Nicole’s third attempt at qualifying the eight-year-old, who was sent to her to ride via eventer Camilla Kruger.

    “He hasn’t really gone against the clock much before and I think that was what was catching me out at the other qualifiers we did at South View and Wales, but he’s learnt to go at speed really quickly,” said Nicole, who has won the newcomers final at HOYS on four occasions.

    “I think he is a little superstar; he has such a good brain and good technique and we are now quite excited by the way he is popping round 1.40m.”

    Nicole’s successful partner Gemmarco 16 headed the 1.40m open, his first class at that level after two years off with an injury. She also piloted SES Goldstar into second place, another of her horses to have recently returned from an enforced two-year break.

    “They both had foot injuries and I like to give them a bit longer off than they need,” Nicole said. “Gemmarco is 13 now, so we just want to let him play around and not over-face him, he enjoys it too much. It’s nice to have them back.”

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