Six months after a serious head injury sustained in an eventing fall, Olympic rider Jonty Evans has made it back into the saddle for his rehabilitation.
Evans, who was in a coma for several weeks, has ridden on Hartpury College’s £90,000 riding simulator, under the guidance of Liz Launder, osteopath at the Margaret Giffen Centre for Rider Performance late last month.
The simulator enabled Evans to experience the feeling of riding a horse again for the first time since he sustained life-threatening injuries in June. Evans had used the facilities at Hartpury many times, but this was his first time there in a rehabilitation capacity.
“It’s great to be back. The simulator allows me to focus completely on the movement and work on my position,” Evans said.
The first of its kind in Europe, the simulator’s hi-tech equipment includes a three-screen display to provide riders with an opportunity to jump a course of jumps or ride cross-country.
Kathryn Nankervis, Principal Lecturer in Equine Therapy, said: “Welcoming Jonty back to Hartpury again after his accident is probably the most significant day Liz and I have ever had at work.
“It was absolutely lovely to have him back and it was a real privilege to be part of what was a hugely important day.
“He’s been here many times to use our facilities in the past, of course, but this was particularly special after what happened in the summer.”
Hartpury’s equine facilities also include an indoor championship arena, three outdoor arenas, an equine veterinary practice, equine science laboratories and a commercial riding school.
One of the largest equine education facilities in the world, Hartpury hosts competitions throughout the year, including the NAF International Five-Star Hartpury Horse Trials, and will be home to the 2020 FEI Dressage and Eventing European Championships for Young Riders and Juniors.