Leading riders back in action at Badminton after recovering from serious injuries

March 28 2016

RIDERS William Fox-Pitt and Andrew Nicholson are set to return to top level competition at this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials after suffering serious injuries last season.

William Fox-Pitt

RIDERS William Fox-Pitt and Andrew Nicholson are set to return to top level competition at this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials after suffering serious injuries last season.
Fox-Pitt, who took the 2015 Badminton title on Chilli Morning, received a head trauma after a fall at an event in France last October but was recently cleared by a specialist to compete again.
Meanwhile, his great British-based New Zealand rival Andrew Nicholson is already back to winning ways after miraculously avoiding paralysis in a fall at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park in August.
He sustained a serious neck injury and underwent eight hours of surgery to repair fractures and stabilise his cervical spine. His surgeon told him the injury he had would have caused paralysis at the time of injury in 98 per cent of cases.
The riders are among one of the strongest ever fields of competitors entered for Badminton, which takes place just three months before the Olympic Games in Brazil.
Current Olympic eventing champion Michael Jung will head the German challenge with La Biosthetique Sam, while Zara Tindall will be aiming for a strong performance with High Kingdom to try and get a place in the British team for Rio de Janeiro.
Her fellow silver medallists from London 2012, including Fox-Pitt, will also be going out to impress the selectors, with Nicola Cook and Tina Cook challenging for places.
Other British hopefuls include Pippa Funnell, Oliver Townend, Gemma Tattersall, Izzy Taylor and Laura Collett.
Badminton has also attracted a strong American contingent, while the Australians have two previous Mitsubishi Motors Trophy winners in contention in Paul Tapner and Sam Griffiths.
Nicholson’s fellow Kiwis challenging for victory include Mark Todd, Jock Paget, husband and wife team Tim and Jonelle Price and Blyth Tait, returning to Badminton after a 13-year absence.
Although crowd favourite Mary King doesn’t have an entry this year, her daughter Emily hopes to make her Badminton debut with Brookleigh, 25 years after her mother won the first Mitsubishi Motors Trophy.
The international, celebrating a quarter of a century of backing by Mitsubishi, runs on the Badminton estate, near Chipping Sodbury, from May 5-8, to be preceded on May 3 and 4 by the annual challenge for grassroots riders in the newly named Mitsubishi Motors Cup event.