Lauren Hough suffered a fall during the first qualifier of the Stuttgart German Masters on Nov. 17. Her 9-year-old mare Blue Angel got too close to a wall and attempted to jump anyway, crashing through the fence. In the fall, the mare stepped on her chest.
"It was in a speed class, and I had a forward distance to a solid wall, and she put another stride in. Instead of stopping, she tried to climb over the top of it, and she got stuck on the top of it on her belly, with her legs dangling on either side, and the wall didn’t collapse. So, she panicked and flipped backwards onto the take-off side, and I was under her," Hough said.
"I never lost consciousness, but I had a hard time breathing," she continued. After walking out of the ring with assistance, she then went to the hospital, accompanied by her close friend, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum. Hough underwent emergency surgery on the same day for a collapsed right lung caused by three broken ribs. Hough also has a separated shoulder. Her mother, Linda Hough, traveled to Germany to be with her.
"The hospital and the show were fantastic in their care. I have to say, if you’re going to get hurt, get hurt in Germany because I’ve never had such good care," said Hough, who was released from the hospital three days after the surgery.
Hough has gotten clearance from her doctors to fly back to the United States on Nov. 28, and she plans to recuperate at her home in Wellington, Fla. "I'm healing slowly and I'm planning to be in good shape for the beginning of the Winter Equestrian Festival and to focus on the Olympic selection trials," she said.
"Blue Angel is fine; I saw her working today. I’m very lucky that it wasn’t worse for her or for me. When you have a rotational fall like that, it can be very dangerous. I still have a hoof print on my chest," said Hough. "I can't stress enough how grateful I am for all the amazing care I’ve received here. From the show staff to the hospital in Stuttgart to my friends and colleagues, it’s been a huge amount of support that’s greatly appreciated."