Young show jumper makes comeback after fall

A SHOW jumper from Suffolk has managed to qualify for a prestigious national competition just weeks after suffering a potentially career-ending fall.

Elliot Furniss

A SHOW jumper from Suffolk has managed to qualify for a prestigious national competition just weeks after suffering a potentially career-ending fall.

Elisha Johnson, 14, from Little Stonham, near Stowmarket, was injured in a “freak” riding accident over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend when her horse tripped, dismounted her and fell on top of her.

Her family, friends and teammates from the Suffolk Riding Club feared she had badly damaged her pelvis and after 45 minutes on the ground she was taken to hospital.


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But she was discharged within hours and was soon recovering back at home before getting back on her horse Royal Velvet II, determined to qualify for the show jumping event at the Royal Windsor Horse Show next month.

She said: “I was a little bit worried but she (Royal Velvet) gives me so much confidence. I haven't even got a bruise on me - I feel very lucky.

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“It didn't really bother me (at the time). When I came round the first thing I said was: 'Is she alright to do the competition?'

“I love show jumping and riding cross country - the adrenalin just gets you going.”

Elisha has been riding since she was three years old and her parents Gary and Maria have to encourage her to make time in her life for other things and fit them around the many hours she spends with Royal Velvet at the yard.

On Sunday she took part in the regional qualifying event and managed to come in the top four, giving her a place at Windsor.

Mr Johnson said: “It was a freak accident and we thought she would never ride again. Then three weeks later she qualifies for Windsor. She's lucky, but she's so strong-headed it's beyond belief.”

Elisha, who also competes for her school, Debenham High School, said she owed a lot to her family - including her younger brother Ben, 11, who gives her lots of encouragement - and her groom and best friend Daisy.

With ambitions to ride professionally and compete in the Olympic Games and at Badminton, Elisha said she would not have been able to qualify for the Windsor competition without the help of her instructor Margaret Walton, vice chair of Suffolk Riding Club.

Club secretary Sharon Jones said Elisha was a determined girl with a lot of heart and talent.

She said: “It's wonderful. It gives her payback for the work she has put in over the years and she has got some success. She has certainly got some guts and ability.”

Elisha will be taking on other top riders from around the country in the British Riding Club competition junior intermediate finals at the Windsor Show, which takes place between May 13 and 17.

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