Injured rider gets back in the saddle

By Benedict O'ConnorA HOTELIER who was crushed by his horse in a dramatic riding accident is climbing back into the saddle in aid of charity to compete in the world's oldest horse race.

By Benedict O'Connor

A HOTELIER who was crushed by his horse in a dramatic riding accident is climbing back into the saddle in aid of charity to compete in the world's oldest horse race.

Passionate point-to-point rider Craig Jarvis was badly injured in March when his horse landed on him in a fall at a race in Horseheath, near Haverhill, as his wife Julie looked on in horror.

Mr Jarvis, who owns the Ravenwood Hall Hotel in Rougham, Tuddenham Mill and the Black Lion in Long Melford, suffered spinal damage, several broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder and was knocked unconscious by his horse Prologue in the horrific fall.


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At the time it looked like the keen amateur rider had raced for the final time, but after six months in recuperation, Mr Jarvis has entered the Newmarket Town Plate, the oldest recorded horse race, founded by Charles II in 1664.

"I don't remember anything about the accident, I was out cold, but when I came round I think I probably swore I was retiring from racing, but I've had six months recovering and three months with a personal trainer to get back in shape," he said.

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"When I eventually sat on a horse again it felt great and the Town Plate seemed like the perfect race to make a comeback."

It will be the 15th time that Mr Jarvis has competed in the race, upholding a family tradition begun by his grandfather, who also rode in the Town Plate, and although he has managed fourth place in the past, he has never yet carried off the spoils.

"There are some very good horses in the race as a lot of Newmarket trainers are keen to win it and it's a long way, so you need to be very fit, but the main thing is to raise some money for charity," he added.

"I have always ridden for various charities each year and I always try to adopt a local charity and this year I'll be hoping to raise about £1,500 for Riding for the Disabled, who do great work enabling less able people to take up horse riding."

Mrs Jarvis, who witnessed her husband's dramatic fall, still has her reservations about his return to riding competitively, but said: "At least this time it's on the flat."

Mr Jarvis' mount, Prologue, fractured a pelvis in the fall, but has made a full recovery and will also be back competing in the point-to-point season.

"He wasn't too badly off as he had something to cushion the fall for him – me," joked Mr Jarvis, who also intends to return to point-to-pointing.

For now, though, his ambitions are fixed solely on Sunday's Town Plate, which is run run over a three-mile, six-furlong-course, and he is hoping the name of his mount, Newmarket Magic, will prove to be appropriate.

benedict.o'connor@eadt.co.uk

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