Wednesday, Jun. 5, 2024

Ralph Hill Recovering From Injury

Ralph Hill is recuperating from a fall he sustained on Oct. 20 at his home farm in Archer, Fla. While schooling a young horse, Hill came off and broke his C1 and C2 vertebrae. He had no injuries to his spinal cord, but he is in a halo for the next six to eight weeks. His condition will then be reevaluated, and surgery might be necessary.

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Ralph Hill is recuperating from a fall he sustained on Oct. 20 at his home farm in Archer, Fla. While schooling a young horse, Hill came off and broke his C1 and C2 vertebrae. He had no injuries to his spinal cord, but he is in a halo for the next six to eight weeks. His condition will then be reevaluated, and surgery might be necessary.

“I was supposed to do a clinic last weekend,” Hill said. “So on Thursday, I rode one of my horses, and I thought, ‘I’m not going to stress it. I’m just going to work him on the flat.’ It’s a really nice horse, and he’s been jumping 3’3” courses. There was a little white plank lying on the ground between the standards, and I thought we’d just trot over it for fun. He hit the brakes so hard I came off.

“I got back on and said, ‘I’m just going to walk him up and put his nose on it.’ He’s snorting at it and not wanting to go up there. Finally he put his nose down and looked at it and snorted. Usually I would have kept walking around and doing that until he blew out his breath. Instead, because I was ready to go pack for the clinic, I thought, ‘I’m going to pick up a trot and let him trot over it.’ I was keeping him at a dead straight trot, and I was ready for him, but about six feet in front of it, he put his head all the way on the ground and ran backwards. I had a helmet on but landed on my danged head,” Hill continued.

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Hill, 59, sustained a serious brain stem injury and multiple fractures at the Poplar Place Horse Trials (Ga.) in 2007. Since then, he’s returned to giving lessons and clinics, as well as riding a few horses. He’s received an outpouring of support from the eventing community since last week.

“I talked to Mike Plumb about it—he called, and we had a nice talk,” Hill said. “Denny [Emerson] had fractured his C1 recently, and he also called and talked to me about it. I don’t care if I ever compete again; I just love horses and want to help people out. That’s what I’m thinking of now. I’ll go wherever God puts me. I want to make sure everyone knows I’m sending all my blessings to everyone who’s been so caring towards me.”

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