Sam Griffiths on the mend: ‘I’m not proud I rode at Badminton with a cracked neck’

  • Australian event rider Sam Griffiths will be returning to action soon after losing the summer season due to a crack in his neck.

    “I had a fall at Burnham Market in April and had a sore neck afterwards,” he said. “I kept riding and it wasn’t getting better, but it was missed on an X-ray.

    “About a week after Badminton I saw a specialist and he said I had a bit of a crack in my neck and I’d better stop riding. I’m no hero and I’m not proud of it — there’s no way I’d have ridden at Badminton if I’d known.”

    Sam stopped competing after Mount Ballan in mid-May and has been in a neck brace, which has now come off. He hopes to be back in the saddle in two weeks’ time and he will aim 2014 Badminton winner Paulank Brockagh at Pau at the end of October as well as a couple of other horses at the Dutch CCI3* at Boekelo earlier that month.

    Sam is at the Blair Castle Equi-Trek International Horse Trials this week watching his seasoned four-star campaigner Happy Times — who he owns with Dinah Posford and Juliet Donald — compete in the CIC3* under fellow Aussie Shane Rose. The pair won the advanced section at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe in August.

    “Happy Times if getting pretty old [18], but he’s fit and well and I felt I couldn’t have him sitting in the stable at the latter end of his career,” he said. “He’s a sensitive horse, but he and Shane get on really well.

    “When he does something well I say I trained him to do it, but when he does something wrong, I blame Shane!”

    Continued below…

    More eventing news:

    Shane and Happy Times lie fourth in the CIC3* at Blair, having scored 45.1

    Shane said: “He goes in the ring and grows in the atmosphere — he’s old enough and good enough that he understands people should be watching him! I found that at Gatcombe. When he’s in the atmosphere he feels eight rather than 18.

    “He has all the tricks. The only thing that went wrong today was that he thought he was going across the diagonal on the last long side and when I put my leg on to correct him he did a few extra flying changes. But he’s a really fun ride.”

    Full report from Blair in H&H next week (issue dated 31 August).

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