First-timer tales

“A trip to A&E con­firmed that I’d shat­tered my wrist” Hav­ing al­ways loved the thrill of jump­ing a course of fences, Bex Got­ter­son felt it was time to tackle her first showjump­ing com­pe­ti­tion, but lit­tle did she know how her day would end

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Jump­ing a course for the first time

NOT LONG AFTER her move to Scot­land, bud­ding showjumper Bex Got­ter­son met cheeky chappie Loki, a 10-year-old Fjord pony with a huge per­son­al­ity and a pen­chant for big jumps. For Bex, he was just what she was look­ing for in her quest to start com­pet­ing in un­af­fil­i­ated com­pe­ti­tions. “I’ve al­ways found the thrill of go­ing over a jump ad­dic­tive, but we don’t have a school at home so get­ting my jump­ing fix was al­ways tricky. I set out a few jumps in my field to prac­tise over, but I had my eye on a 50cm un­af­fil­i­ated showjump­ing course at my lo­cal eques­trian cen­tre. I de­cided to go for it. “On the day of my first com­pe­ti­tion I rode a wonderful clear round. But that was where my luck ended. Fjords are well-known for be­ing char­ac­ters and Loki doesn’t dis­ap­point. Think of the clumsy kid at school – that’s Loki. “Just be­fore the jump-off, Loki’s naughty side came out and he had a huge tantrum in the form of a buck­ing dis­play. Luck­ily, I man­aged to sit it, but from there, the rest of the day didn’t get much bet­ter. “At one of the jumps in the jump-off, Loki de­cided he was go­ing to take one stride be­fore per­form­ing a 90-de­gree turn back to­wards the arena en­trance. I went fly­ing, and ended up with a lump the size of a golf ball on my wrist. A trip to A&E con­firmed that I’d shat­tered my wrist. Cue one op­er­a­tion, two nights in hos­pi­tal and a ti­ta­nium plate with nine screws. “It was eight weeks be­fore I was ready to ride again. Since my fall I’ve only com­peted a cou­ple of times and while we’ve won no rosettes, I’m not about to give up. When it comes to com­pet­ing, I’ve learnt you have to take the time to set­tle your­self and your horse. If I’m do­ing clear rounds then I’ll do a 30cm course of crosspoles to build my con­fi­dence be­fore tack­ling the big­ger fences. Even after my fall, I still love fly­ing over a jump as much as ever.”

Tak­ing a tumble in your first j ump-offis n ever a good w ay t o s tart your showjump­ing ca­reer It w as e ight w eeks be­fore B ex w as back i n t he s ad­dle

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