Tributes paid to elite eventer who helped rider recover from severe car crash injuries

  • A former four-star eventer, who helped his amateur rider recover from serious injuries suffered during a car crash and fulfilled her long-standing eventing ambitions, died in his field on Wednesday (25 July).

    Caroline (Caz) Mosley found Classy Touch, the 22-year-old eventer she’d had on loan since 2014, in the field after he’d had a suspected heart attack. He has been buried at home, leaving “a massive hole” in Caz’s life.

    The horse, on loan from Olivia Wilmot, was “the best horse I’ve ever had,” said Caz, who is a veterinary nurse at Edinburgh University teaching undergraduates clinical skills.

    “I fully put my recovery down to having Classy in my life,” said Caz, who broke her back and split her liver in a car crash in June 2014.

    After spinal surgery to fuse the vertebrae and put plates and screws in, her consultant told her she shouldn’t ride again.

    Before the accident Caz had just stepped up to novice eventing on her home-produced horse and had collected tickets for regional finals in an attempt to qualify for the grassroots championships at Badminton.

    But she had to put her horse out on loan as it was too sharp for her to risk coming off.

    Determined to ride again, just 10 weeks after the crash Caz convinced her vet husband to let her sit on a friend’s sensible cob – albeit on a lead rein at first.

    “I had to ride again for my own mental wellbeing,” recalls Caz, now 40.

    After seeing a post on Facebook for a good home for a veteran eventer, she was put in touch with Olivia Wilmot, the owner of Classy Touch.

    The horse had gone to four-star with Andrew Hoy, who sold him to Amy Batters and he arrived in Olivia’s yard in Kilmarnock in 2010.

    She evented him up to three-star taking him to Blair in 2013 aged 18 for his last outing.

    “I’m so grateful to Olivia for choosing to loan, not sell him. She’d had a lot of fun with him and just wanted him to have a good life,” said Caz.

    The pair clicked straight away, coming second in the BE90 arena class at SNEC the day after he arrived.

    Encouraged by a new consultant who gave her the all clear to ride again, Caz started planning future outings with Classy ‘Bear’ (as she calls him because of his hairy ears).

    “It took me 18 months after the accident to fully get back my core strength, but Classy looked after me wherever we went,” she said.

    “He was an amazing horse to have around, you never felt as though you need to worry when on him. I can’t thank Olivia enough for encouraging me to take him eventing and go intermediate,” she added.

    Over the next four years the pair did more together than Caz could ever have imagined.

    In 2016 they completed the CCI* at Blair when the horse was 21 years old. This had been Caz’s dream since she started eventing 10 years ago.

    At their first BE intermediate they finished in the top 10, and at in his last run in 2017, the pair were 10th after a double clear in the novice at Dalkeith.

    Caz credits some of her success to being able to use Lucinda Russell’s all-weather gallops to keep Classy fit, sparing him the hard ground.

    Continued below…

    Not a horse to retire munching in the field all day, Classy enjoyed Trec and side saddle competitions after his eventing days were over, qualifying twice for Trec GB Championships.

    In June this year Classy and Caz went to the Royal Highland Show to compete in the side saddle classes.

    Caz started a Facebook page called Orange Fox Eventing (after her favourite colour and maiden name) shortly after she got Class “to show what fun you can have with a veteran eventer”.

    The plan for the rest of this year had been to take Classyback to Blair to do the two-star guinea pig dressage test and compete in the side saddle veteran classes.

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