British world medallist recovering from surgery in Australian hospital

British dressage rider Spencer Wilton has undergone surgery in Sydney for a ruptured disc in his lower back, having been admitted to hospital while in Australia on a teaching trip.

The multi-medalled Olympian suffered with the back injury during 2018, blighting his preparations for the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in September — though he and Super Nova II still helped Britain achieve team bronze in Tryon.

A relapse while in Australia meant he was admitted to the Prince Charles Hospital in Sydney, and needed an operation before he could return to the UK. He underwent the surgery on Saturday morning (8 June).

“I’m feeling much better and extremely relieved,” said Spencer. “If all goes well I’ll stay in hospital until Wednesday then have a few days resting up and hopefully fly home next weekend.

“[It wasn’t] quite the end to a fabulous trip teaching in Australia that I was expecting. Having had a bit of a sore back on arrival it quickly got rather uncomfortable, to the point that I was needing assistance to get dressed!

“Without getting too mushy I want to say that being in this situation, on the other side of the world, has been quite an experience, but all the messages of support that I have received have really humbled me. So thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”

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Spencer and “Neville” have been members of the British senior team for the past three consecutive years, winning team silver at the Rio Olympics and helping Britain finish fourth at the 2017 European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The pair made their comeback after the best part of a year out in 2018, winning bronze at WEG, but Spencer recently announced that he will not be campaigning the 17-year-old De Niro gelding for this year’s European Championship team, instead saving him for a tilt at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

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