I have had a very turbulent few weeks, with some very good moments but also some of the worst so far in my career. It has taken me this long to write about it; I have been very much affected by losing one of my best horses and hope that I will never have this situation again.
In April, I headed to Weston Park with Maisie and Harry entered in the open intermediate and Bertie in the intermediate. The day didn’t start well as Frankie - my helper for the weekend - had the lorry partition fall on her hand and cut her finger quite badly, so she had to go to hospital. Thankfully, Becca had decided to come and watch and so ended up grooming all day.
It was miles up to the dressage and Harry was completely wild as you go past the cross-country. He did a good test to get 29, as did Maisie who also got 29 and Bertie was his usual diligent self and scored a good mark.
The showjumping was quite soft and was a big track so needed some good riding. Bertie jumped superbly and just had one down, which meant I was in a good position as so many had, had fences down. Going in to the cross-country, Bertie warmed up really well. Sometimes he could be strong, but he wasn’t that day and I decided to try to let him go a bit quicker. He jumped the course so well, it felt very easy.
I was able to take all the shortcuts as he was so rideable, so it was a huge shock when I found us both on the ground. He took off as he should and we weren’t going too fast, I had slowed down sufficiently for a corner into the dark (it was under trees). He had never hit any cross-country fence, but he hit this so hard he fell and I knew as soon as he couldn’t get up it was very serious. After what seemed like forever, he stood up, but it was clear something was very wrong.
I can’t write much more about it as I am absolutely devastated but the team there were amazing as was Ellen Singer, the vet who looked after him so well. They had a mobile X-Ray machine on site, thankfully, which showed him to have a bone broken completely in two which was right by his elbow. I think too much of my horses to put them through pain as he would never be able to do anything again and was a true competition horse, so I decided it was kinder to have him put to sleep.
I have lost the second best horse in my team. He was the loveliest horse I have ever owned and sadly irreplaceable. I had such high hopes for him and I am so sorry for David and Sue Howard who owned him with me. My events have all been cancelled so far as this rain is relentless, but it has probably done me good to have a little break. It was definitely the worst thing to happen so far in my career.