Joanne Vaughan, who competes for the country of Georgia, was injured in a fall at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, on Feb. 28.
Vaughan was warming up Forbes, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Fidertanz—Rhonda, Rohdiamant), for the CDI3* Intermediaire I freestyle when a sprinkler went off and spooked him.
Vaughan, 59, sustained a broken collarbone, several fractured ribs and a bruised and collapsed lung. She was transported to Palms West Hospital in nearby Loxahatchee.
“I’ve received so many nice messages from all over the world,” she said. “Because the boards were right in front—it was one of those very fast things. We were just doing our usual warm-up—I still had 25 minutes—and the sprinklers went on. He went to run forward, saw the boards, and then jumped the other direction and swerved. I was a little bit launched, almost like going backwards. He’s not a spooky horse. I’ve been riding him since he was 3 and never had a problem with him. It’s the first time I’ve come off him. It was one of those freak accidents.”
Vaughan is planning to stay in Florida until the beginning of April with her three horses before returning to her base in France, but she expects to be out of the saddle for four to six weeks.
“It’s a great show, and it’s wonderful, but they all talk about welfare of the horse, and it seems having sprinklers going off—there should be a rule when competitions are going on to turn off all the sprinklers. I think it could have been avoidable,” she said. “I’m just glad it wasn’t even worse.”
Vaughan, who was born in Great Britain, rode for Georgia at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (France) and at the 2018 WEG (North Carolina) on her now-retired partner Elmegardens Marquis.