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‘His bone was in bits’: eventer who confronted being put down comes again to championship win

  • The owner and rider of a horse who faced being put down owing to a serious fracture last year, but came back to win an eventing championship, said she “couldn’t ask for any more”.

    Tamsin Palmer and 10-year-old Bazaars Twister took first place in the 90cm Saracen Horse Feeds Brigante Cup Final at Frickley Park, the culmination of an unaffiliated eventing series held in the north of the country, on 18 September.

    Tamsin bought “Twink” as a three-year-old from Bazaars Stud and the pair have competed at affiliated eventing, qualifying for the Area Festivals with hopes of competing in the grassroots championships at Badminton – but last summer, Twink was found on three legs in his field.

    “The pedal bone was in bits,” Tamsin told H&H. “We didn’t think he’d make it.

    “I was away for the weekend, typically, and they went to get him in and he was on three legs – it as awful. As soon as you see the call, you just know, and I said ‘Get the vet out straight away’.”

    At first it was thought Twink had an abscess, but his condition did not improve.

    “I’ve had fractured pedal bones before, in a front leg, and although he was getting slightly more comfortable in the stable, he was on bute,” Tamsin said. “Then when you tried to walk him, he was hopping again. I said we needed to get it X-rayed, and then we could see he’d really made a mess of it.”

    Twink spent months on box rest, being walked in hand, and there were a host of other issues to deal with – for the horse and hs owner.

    “There was one day he went a bit colicky so we had to walk him, but that made his foot worse,” Tamsin said. “It was a slow process of increasing the walking by a minute each day – halfway through, I had the great idea of long-reining, which was fine the first time, then the second time, he took off and I ended up sliding head-first down the road – it was a slightly terrifying time.”

    By this point, Tamsin said, Twink had about a 65% chance of eventing again, which was significantly better than initial estimates. But he had some back and other issues that needed to be treated, as did the ulcers and the asthma he developed this year.

    But, finally, X-rays showed the bone had healed, and “looked fantastic”, Tamsin said.

    After a long process of building up the work, the combination were jumping by April, then eventing again in August, “and it was magic to be back on”, Tamsin said.

    They qualified for the Brigante Cup by coming third at Shelford, then completed their Area Festival in eighth place; having been in a strong position after the dressage, they had a showjumping sat-nav error.

    “I was rusty!” Tamsin said. “I got four faults for the circle and 12 for time, then time-faults across country, so the next event, I thought ‘Right, I’m riding him like I stole him’, and that was the championship!”

    Tamsin, who paid tribute to her trainers Richard and Jane Carruthers and Gary Foggon, and her friend Kim Pemberton who helps her at events, also praised the team at Frickley for the championship, which was run like a long-format event with the showjumping last.

    “It was really exciting, and just amazing to win,” she said.

    “I never thought I’d get him back, I thought I’d lose him so many times, so this was what dreams are made of – a dream come true. After all the heartache, it was just brilliant.”

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