Kate and Flash riding high following injuries recovery

A local horsewoman who was told she’d never ride again has qualified for Badminton, along with the beloved horse who was also written off due to an injury.
Katie Brickman and Flash both recovered from shocking injuries. Photo by Tony Bartholomew.Katie Brickman and Flash both recovered from shocking injuries. Photo by Tony Bartholomew.
Katie Brickman and Flash both recovered from shocking injuries. Photo by Tony Bartholomew.

But vet Katie Brickman, from Welburn, near Malton, refused to give up when doctors told her a hand injury had ended her riding career.

She used the he same determination to bring her horse, Flash, back from an injury most competition horses would never recover from.

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Katie, 29, who works at Minster Equine Veterinary Clinic in Ripon, suffered an horrific injury in March 2017 when she fell over while carrying a glass bottle of antibiotics, severing an artery in her left hand.

She was rushed to hospital in Hull, where she underwent two operations, but was told the damage was so serious, she would never be able to properly grip reins again and was advised to retire from riding.

Two months later, Katie suffered another devastating blow when Flash, her competition horse, suffered a serious injury when he ripped a ligament in his stifle joint at the top of his leg while in his field.

Flash was left critically lame by an injury that was so serious, he had to remain on box rest [confined to stable] for six months, and the prognosis was so bleak, he would have to be retired.

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Katie and Flash have confounded expectations by making a miracle recovery and returned to competition this year in the world of eventing. Not only have they enjoyed their best-ever year with four wins, they have qualified for Badminton Grassroots Championships at one of the biggest events in the world equine sporting calendar.

Katie, who has been a vet with Minster Equine Veterinary Clinic at Ripon, York and Malton for six years, said: “Flash and I have both gone from being told neither of us will never compete again to qualifying for Badminton Grassroots Championships. He has had an amazing season and it’s been our best ever year.

“It goes to show you should never give up and all horses deserve a chance to recover from even the worst kind of injuries. I never gave up hope for either of us, but to reach Badminton is beyond my wildest dreams.

“Flash is a very special horse because he had a tough start as I don’t think he was treated well before I got him so he’s very nervous.

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“It was really grim news about his injury as he as extremely lame, but I was determined to do everything to help him recover even though everything was stacked against him.”

Katie still recovering from the severed artery, which left her hand in a bandage and cast, when Flash, a nine-year-old black Irish Sports Horse, suffered a freak injury in his field.

After six months of box rest, Katie took him for a bone scan at Rainbow Equine Hospital.

While she feared he would never compete in eventing again, she hoped Flash could at least be a pleasure hack.

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As an experienced vet, she started giving him laser, shockwave and ultrasound treatment to the injured stifle joint, as well as stem cell therapy.

By August 2018, he was making such good progress, Katie decided to test out his recovery, as well as her own, by jumping and then this year started competing.

In October 2018, she competed at Askham Bryan College in York – and won.