Andrew Nicholson speaks out over his death-defying fall

Andrew Nicholson
Andrew Nicholson

New Zealand eventer Andrew Nicholson has spoken in depth about the cross-country fall that nearly paralysed him two months ago, at the Gatcombe Horse Trials.

Speaking to New Zealand’s Newstalk ZB radio host Mike Hosking, Nicholson said his horse, Cillnabradden Evo, who had been going very well, got to the last fence on the course, and “didn’t jump it. he whatever reason just galloped straight through it, and that was it”.

“I hit the ground very hard. I got myself out from the horse [who had fallen on his leg, and a spur on the other foot was caught in his tail], and the horse was winded so he lay very still on the ground. I went over to try to undo the girth … and I realised I didn’t have the strength in one hand that I should have. My shoulder felt very sore, then I started to feel like I had grass burn on both my elbows, it was stinging, then it was into my hands.”

Nicholson said the doctors and vets arrived, and “I know I wouldn’t be a good patient as I know I’ve got another horse to ride, and the first job is to pass the doctor”.

As he was not knocked out he was allowed to continue with his other ride. “Once I got back to the lorry I realised I wasn’t in a state to be able to ride the next horse and be competitive on it,” Nicholson said.

“So we called for the doctor – I just wanted some painkillers and to go home. That’s when they came back and suggested I put a neck brace on and hopped on to a flat bed, they strapped me in and took me off to hospital.

From there he was scanned and a specialist informed him of the gravity of the injury.

Andrew Nicholson and Cillnabradden Evo on the way tow inning the Amlin Plus Eventers Challenge at Hickstead.
Andrew Nicholson and Cillnabradden Evo. © Nigel Goddard/KSDigital Photography

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