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Jonty's back in the saddle

Jonty Evans with his horse Art.

Olympian Jonty Evans a former St David’s College pupil, is making a miraculous recovery after having a fall from his horse.

The international eventer, who grew up in Trefriw, North Wales, was in a coma for six weeks following a fall during the Tattersalls International Horse Trials in County Meath, Ireland.

The 47-year-old who rode for Ireland at the Rio Olympics coming ninth, suffered a “significant brain injury” after falling from Cooley Rorkes Drift, also known as Art, during the cross-country phase of the CIC three-star competition. Medics didn’t think he was going to survive.

But thankfully less than six months on, Jonty is now able to talk, walk, run and has just got back into the saddle-albeit a mechanical one.

Jonty, who is based in Cheltenham, and whom rides for the Irish team through his father’s side of the family, said: “The Irish doctors can’t quite believe I’m still alive and that my progress has been so good.

“I’ve had excellent care from the staff at the Beaumont Hospital, and I think it helped that I was physically fit when I had the accident.

“I remember the day quite well, the course and even the jump but I just don’t remember the fall.

“I’m feeling very positive about the future, and it was good to be back in the saddle the other day, even if it was on a mechanical horse.

“It got up to trotting speed and it felt very familiar, I just had to think a bit more about when I was getting on and off the horse.

“I’ll be guided by my team as to when I’ll be able to get back on a real horse.”

Jonty said he has very happy memories of being a pupil at St David’s College.

“I grew up in Crafnant, above Trefriw, on a small-holding and would spend my time riding bikes and horses-my mother still lives there.”

He continued: “St David’s was perfect for me, I loved it that you were encouraged to go out into the great outdoors.

“I have very fond memories of John Meyor the headmaster and Mr Lennard my Snowdon housemaster, they got the best out of people.”

Last year Jonty hit the headlines when he faced a race against time to stop his beloved competition horse being sold from under him.

He was devastated to learn Art - the horse he has ridden and trained for six years, was being sold by his owners-he managed to raise £500,000 through a Crowd Funding Campaign. Art is now just waiting for his master to get better, so they can ride together again.

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