Olympic showjumper recovering from surgery on broken bone in front leg

  • Olympic showjumper Twentytwo Des Biches is recovering after breaking a bone in her left foreleg in an accident at the final fence of the CSI5* Paris grand prix (20 March).

    The 15-year-old mare, ridden by Switzerland’s Bryan Balsiger, was attended by on-site vets, before being taken to the veterinary clinic in Grosbois.

    She underwent surgery on Monday (21 March), carried out by specialist Dr Fabrice Rossignol following consultation with Twenty’s regular vet, Thomas Wagner, and vet Anton Fürst of Zurich University.

    An update from connections on Tuesday (22 March) said the surgery “went well” and the vets are “very happy with the result”.

    “Recovery will obviously take time and the only goal is that Twenty can enjoy the retirement she deserves,” said the statement from her connections.

    The Selle Francais mare, by Mylord Carthago, was part of the Swiss bronze medal-winning team at the 2017 Europeans with Romain Duget and the pair finished second at the World Cup final the same year. Bryan took the ride in 2018, and the pair made their international competition debut as a combination in 2019. They have numerous top international wins and placings and were part of the fifth-placed team at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

    “This event is very difficult for me and I am very affected,” said Bryan. “But I am also relieved today to see that the operation went well and that Twenty is standing and can already walk.

    “I now hope from the bottom of my heart that she recovers well so that I can see her as soon as possible at the park. Twenty gave me so much and allowed me to reach my dreams, she means so much to me. I thank everyone for the great support received since Sunday during this period. It touches me.”

    Owner Christiana Brechtbühl added that Twenty is a “member of our family and what happened is extremely hard to live with”.

    “We have lived through very difficult times, but these are fortunately behind us. We have done everything for Twenty and will continue to do so,” she said.

    “Bryan and I are still in the Paris region with her. Our only objective is that she can enjoy the retirement she deserves after having given so much for us and had such a great and great sporting career.

    “We were very touched by the many tokens of support we received. We would like to thank the veterinary teams on site in Paris as well as at the Clinique de Grosbois, as well as the Paris CSI organising committee for what they have done for Twenty and for us”.

    Swiss team manager Michel Sorg said the accident is a “huge shock for the Swiss team”.

    “We [supported] Christiana Brechtbühl, Bryan Balsiger, Mélusine Guiblin-Miché and all their team as best we could on site and also after that. And of course we continue to do so,” he said.

    “It is a great relief to know that the operation went well. We all have only one wish, that Twenty can enjoy a nice retirement in the meadow after such a great career during which she gave so much to our Swiss team.

    “Once again, we send our full support and thoughts to the entire Twentytwo team.”

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