After a turbulent few years, four-star eventer and Land Rover ambassador Harry Meade talks about coming back from his 2013 fall, the highs and lows of 2014, the death of his father this year and what he’s looking forward to next
…on his 2013 fall
In 2013 I reached a point in my career where for the last six or seven years I’d been competitive at the higher level. And then everything was turned on its head quite literally when I had a bad fall and shattered and dislocated both of my arms at the elbows. I had a period of six months after that where I couldn’t do anything for myself. I was told that I would never ride again.
So I started riding in secret — it felt a lot better than expected so over the next few days I went from just walking to next having a trot and a canter and on the third day I went up onto the gallops. I didn’t do all of this just to get back in the saddle, it was to try and get back competing at the top level.
I definitely had a new lease of life coming back. I was going to just give it everything and I’m sure it played a big part in having such a successful first season when I came back.
…on Badminton 2014
I was able to approach Badminton [where Harry finished third with Wild Lone] with a real sense of liberation. I was able to enjoy the moment and be extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to be back competing at the top level again. Having such a great result at Badminton, there was then the chance to be called up for the British team and head out to Normandy.
…on the World Equestrian Games
Going into the cross-country in Normandy we knew that the course was very tough. I set out on the course excited to be there with a very good horse underneath me and he gave me a magical ride.
Losing Wild Lone after the cross-country was the biggest challenge I’ve had to face yet. He’s a horse that I’ll never forget and I owe a lot of my career to, but it’s something we’ve had to move on from and we’ll always remember the great moments he gave us.
…on Richard Meade
It was really important for me that my father was alive to see me come back from thinking my career was over to having those successes at Badminton and to go on to the World Championships. He was always very positive — he was a great one for rising to a challenge.
…on the future
We’re always looking for the next superstar and I’m excited about a horse called Away Cruising. He’s a lovely big grey horse, an eight-year-old, and I’ve ridden him since he was a four-year-old. I’m confident that he’s got all three phases and he’s a competitive horse at the moment. But I think he’ll be in his element as he keeps going up the grades and will be at his best when he’s at the top level.
Life’s about challenges, we don’t know what’s going to be ahead of us and I think the important thing is to keep picking yourself up. And if you take the attitude that you keep getting back up, then you’ll get to where you want to be and you’ll have some great opportunities, moments and memories along the way.