Rising Star winner, from August 2016 Jo Hall explains how a bad fall resulting in hospitalisation, lameness and kissing spines has made her work even harder for her dreams. Jo tells our readers that you must never give up and must always try and stay positive!

Jo’s story:

“You last heard from me during my recovery in hospital following a bad fall which occurred when Prince (pictured below) bronked after a fence during preparation for our next BE80T. I was at this point considering whether at age 49, I should just stick to flat work! Following our accident, Prince (my lovely and usually very well behaved) Irish Sports Horse, started to back off on the flat prompting a vet call out for a full lameness work up. It was devastating to find Prince had Kissing Spines.

With careful management and flat work designed to build correct muscling, I agreed to steroid treatment rather than seeking a surgical solution. Over the next 12 months Prince’s topline and muscle improved dramatically as did our dressage scores. We moved from scraping 62% at affiliated prelim to a spectacular 71% at Novice in the BRC Summer dressage qualifiers. Prince was injected in his back for a second time a year after diagnosis and all seemed to be going well. In spring 2018, a lump oozing puss appeared under Prince’s jaw. Assuming it was an abscess the vet was called only to discover on scanning that it was a growth that required surgical removal.  Prince spent a number of days at Rossdales Equine clinic under their expert care whilst I waited on biopsy results – I was so scared having been warned that the lump could be lymphoma. Amazingly the lump was benign, so work began bringing Prince back into work.

Unfortunately we hit another bump in the road as it became apparent that Prince was not moving forward and this time he was lame on his near fore and not picking up behind. A full lameness workup and nerve blocks later revealed arthritic changes in his hocks which would require steroid injections. Prince responded brilliantly and by June 2018 we were back on form and ready to start competing again. Around the same time I received an email from British Dressage to say we had qualified for the Prelim Silver Area Festivals during our short stint competing in October 2017.

We attended the Area Festivals at Keysoe in August wearing our Equilibrium Products saddle cloth. I attended very much on the basis that I was delighted just to be there and to make up the numbers – and we got a plaque of which was our first. Imagine my amazement and delight when my yard friend Christina (who came along as support and groom) ran over to say I had come equal 9th with 65.14% qualifying us for the Area Festival Finals. This was our first ever mounted presentation and I couldn’t believe how we had bounced back.

We chose Codham Park for the Area Festival Finals but I have to admit both Prince and I were somewhat daunted turning in a rather tense test for 13th place – but we got another plaque!

While all of this was going on Prince and I had been frantically practicing with three Houghton and Huntingdon Riding Club chums Alison, Sarah and Claire for the BRC Dressage to Music Champs – Quadrille selection. Another first for me. I had no idea what I was signing up for – I didn’t even realise fancy dress was involved! We decided on Grease as our theme and strutted our stuff at Bury Farm in September. The fact that we were all novices to this and had funded the whole escapade ourselves was not too obvious and we felt we did ourselves proud and we thoroughly enjoyed being interviewed for Horse and Country TV!”



Jo has gone on to ride at the TeamQuest & MyQuest regionals where Prince and Jo finished an incredible 2nd place in the MyQuest qualifying them for the National Dressage Championships in October.

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