NZ’s Nicholson lucky to be walking after Gatcombe fall

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Andrew Nicholson and Cillnabradden Evo on the way to winning the Amlin Plus Eventers Challenge at Hickstead on July 30, only a few days before their Gatcombe fall.
Andrew Nicholson and Cillnabradden Evo on the way to winning the Amlin Plus Eventers Challenge at Hickstead on July 30, only a few days before their Gatcombe fall. © Nigel Goddard/KSDigital Photography

British based New Zealand eventing rider Andrew Nicholson was lucky not to have been paralysed after his fall at Gatcombe earlier this month.

Nicholson, who is now back home, underwent an eight-hour operation in which surgeon Jeremy Reynolds repaired the fractures and stabilised the rider’s cervical spine.

“I am very pleased to be back at home and wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone myself for their kind messages and support which have meant a lot to me and my family.

“In terms of my injury I realise I have been incredibly lucky. My surgeon, Mr Jeremy Reynolds, told me that the injury I sustained to my neck would have caused paralysis at the time of injury, in 98% of cases.  I was extremely fortunate this did not happen.”

Nicholson said the surgery itself was “not without risk”, and he was grateful to the team of spinal surgeons at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford.

“Obviously I won’t be riding again this season as it will take some time to fully recover.  Whilst I have to take things easy, I am up and about and fully mobile, and look forward to getting back to full fitness in due course.”

Nicholson had fallen heavily from Cillnabradden Evo at the last obstacle on the cross-country in the feature CIC3* class at Gatcombe. The horse was reportedly not injured in the incident.

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