Michael Pollard and Icarus are both recovering nicely after their fall at the Land Rover Burghley CCI**** (England) on Sept. 3. Icarus fell at fence 26, the first element of The Lake Crossing.
“We’re both surprisingly well,” said Pollard. “I’m obviously disappointed to get that far and not be able to get home. But for whatever reason, he got a lot more tired than he normally would. Being full Thoroughbred, you don’t expect that. I’ll approach it from a number of different angles. We’ll certainly look at the fitness angles and see if we can get him fitter. Burghley is as grueling a course as you could probably do. But at the end of the day, there’s nothing you can do but try and not have it happen again.”
Though it was first announced that Pollard, 30, suffered a broken wrist in the fall, he later discovered it was soft tissue damage and inflammation.
“I’m pretty excited it’s not broken,” Pollard said. “I said it was broken because I’ve had several broken bones, and I know what they feel like. I was convinced. But I’ll tell you what, I woke up the next morning, and it started feeling a bit better. Today it was even better. I’ll start riding again when I get home.”
Aside from some muscle soreness and a few cuts with bacterial infections, Pollard reported that Icarus—a 13-year-old Thoroughbred (Boundlessly—Suzan’s Silver) owned by Pollard’s wife Nathalie Bouckaert Pollard and Mieke Hanssens—is also feeling better.
“His right hind is a little swollen, but that looks like it was just from those few cuts and the bacterial infection,” he said. “I do wonder if he was getting legitimately sick, and we didn’t know until after. He did have a high fever the next day, and it’s hard to know if that’s from the bacterial infection, but you’d think it would have responded quicker to the antibiotics.”
Michael hopes Icarus can return home to the Pollards’ Dalton, Ga., home base next week, where he will enjoy some rest before going back into work.
“He should be fine to go back to hacking in a month or so,” Michael said. “Then we’ll get him out to a preliminary horse trials later this fall, just so he doesn’t think he’s going to fall down every time he goes out. Then next spring hopefully we’ll have a normal season and then aim for [the Rolex CCI**** in] Kentucky.”
Michael received a $15,000 Land Rover Competition and Training Grant to compete at Burghley. He was also recently named to this year’s Pan American Games eventing team on Nathalie’s Schoensgreen Hanni.
“I want to thank Land Rover and the USEF for giving us the grants to go abroad and do that,” Michael said. “Although I didn’t end up with a fantastic result myself, it puts us in a better position for next year. I hope that, in the end, I’ll prove it was a good investment.”