Sunday, Feb. 28, marked a tough start to the 2010 eventing season when top riders Jan Byyny and Rebecca Howard ended their day in the hospital after suffering serious falls on cross-country at the Pine Top Horse Trials in Thomson, Ga.
Olympian Karen O’Connor, who is based in Ocala, Fla., for the winter, also fell off Ronaldo in a preliminary division and suffered a minor concussion. She was checked out by medical staff, but she wasn’t hospitalized according to U.S. Eventing Association CEO Jo Whitehouse.
Howard, Norwood, N.C., was competing in an advanced division with her experienced two-star mount Roquefort. The pair suffered a rotational fall at the second-to-last fence on course, an upright vertical.
According to friend and fellow eventer Sinead Halpin, “Rocky” never saw the fence.
“I was standing behind the jump. The stride wasn’t wrong. She was quiet, came around the turn, put her leg on, and he never even looked up,” said Halpin.
According to Halpin, Howard’s neck and back are uninjured, but she fractured many ribs and broke both collarbones in multiple places. She also suffered a punctured lung.
Doctors decided against surgery for now, and Howard spent her first 48 hours post injury concentrating on re-inflating her lung. Halpin said her spirits were good, but that Howard wouldn’t be leaving the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., just yet.
Keep checking Halpin’s blog for updates.
Byyny’s accident came in the preliminary division aboard a young horse, Wallstraed.
According to Whitehouse, Byyny, Purcellville, Va., has been up and walking around, but she has a concussion with a few complications. She is able to communicate and is receiving the best care possible, but her family requested that fans and well-wishers respect her privacy for the time being.