However, the top British showjumper made a welcome return to international competition at the CSI2* Lier, Belgium, last week and is targeting a return to five-star level on home soil at the London International Horse Show at ExCel next month (16-20 December).
“It’s been a tough three or four months not riding,” he told H&H. “I had to work hard to get to this stage. Doctors originally told me it would be six months at least, but could be up to a year before I’d be back riding again.
“There was very little I could do while I still had the crutches, but as soon as they took the cast off I started swimming 1km every morning – I’m probably actually fitter than I was before!
“I still can’t run or walk too far, but riding is easier than walking, actually.”
William Funnell back in action in Belgium
William jumped several classes last week with the nine-year-old mare Equine America Billy Picador and the eight-year-old Billy McDermit. He’s back in action this week at the CSI2* in Peelbergen, Belgium (11-13 November), where he has also brought out his top horse Billy Diamo, his Olympic hope from whom he had the fall in the run-up to the Tokyo Games.
The pair had uncharacteristically crashed through an oxer during the team competition in Poland and William was stretchered out of the arena with what turned out to be a broken leg.
“I needed to start back competing now to ensure I was fit enough and ready to be jumping back at five-star level before Christmas and the horses have been away from competitions for a long time,” explained William. “It was a case of now or never. Last week was pretty good and it all seems to be going well. I was reasonably able to follow the horses anyway!”
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