Freak accident rules popular British pair out of Windsor: ‘it could have been a lot worse’

Top British dressage horse Rubins Nite has been given the “all-clear” to return to work after a freak accident while competing abroad.

“Squeaks” was standing quietly in the warm-up at Doha CDI in Al Shaqab (8 to 10 March) while rider Hayley Watson-Greaves was being interviewed in the main arena.

He shook his head, dislodging his fly veil, and panicked, resulting in the bridle and fly veil coming off and he bolted.

The 15-year-old gelding fell on the rubber matting, before he came back to Hayley and they were able to catch him.

“It could have been a hell of a lot worse and I’m just thankful that he is ok,” Hayley told H&H.

“He was ok to travel home, thank goodness, he just had quite bad skin burns where he fell over on the rubber matting and where he fell he had swellings from the bruising on his body.

“The vet has been out to check him and has been brilliant. He is sound, which is good, and has been having a whale of a time out in the field. He is pretty keen to be back and I’ve got on him a couple of times, just to give him a walk in the school to keep his mind occupied.”

She added the bridle was fitted to him and this has not happened before, but “accidents happen”.

“People have been asking why he isn’t going to Windsor and when is the next show, he has quite a following!” she said.

“It is just a shame and we are trying to aim for the European Championships later this year, but his health and fitness comes first.

“I didn’t want to push him for Windsor and it would have been hard to get him fit — it is all about what’s best for him.”

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Hayley and Squeaks are one of Britain’s most consistent top dressage combinations and have been competing together at international grands prix since 2014.

Their results include a multitude of top-10s across the world and they are a hugely popular pair at major competitions on home soil, with top results at Windsor, Hickstead, Olympia and Hartpury.

They were selected as non-travelling reserve for the 2016 Olympics and are stalwarts of the Nations Cup teams.

In 2017, the pair were also crowned British Dressage national champions at Stoneleigh and the following year were the sole British representatives at the 2018 World Cup finals, where they posted an impressive score of 75.35% in the freestyle.

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