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Yuri Mansur's Vitiki back in action

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. Vitiki, prior to his injury that put him out of action for over a year. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping



After a freak accident at CHIO Aachen in 2018, Yuri Mansur's Vitiki (Valentino x For Expo) has made a return to the show rings. For over one year, the 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding has been carefully rehabilitated and this past weekend he jumped his fourth show in Peelbergen, Netherlands. 

"He feels great, everything just keeps getting better," Yuri Mansur says to World of Showjumping. "In the ring the scope and the stride is still there. In the beginning he was really fresh in the warm up, but in the ring he is always focused." 

It has been a long process getting Vitiki – a horse that Mansur has referred to as "the best horse I have ever ridden" – back on track. For the first three months after the accident, Vitiki had total box rest – wearing a cast on his right front leg for one month. After, Vitiki was allowed to do only a few meters of hand walk each day and about six months into rehabilitation he could be walked under the saddle. "He has surprised everyone with how well he has recovered," Yuri tells. "At the beginning of the year, we took two screws off his leg and after he was not so good. One day we decided to see how he trotted, and he was not too bad actually – we were surprised.  Our vet said it was almost impossible he would ever come back to the sport. However, I followed my feeling and carefully trotted him a bit more each day. Then we did a little bit of canter, and a day after that he was trotting better than ever. Each day he improved. In May this year he was feeling really good, in both trot and canter. Around June-July, a year after the accident, we tried some cavalettis at home and the day after he was trotting perfect. At that point our vet also started to believe that Vitiki could do a comeback." 

Left: Vitiki's leg after surgery. Right: A photo of the latest x-ray of the same leg. Left: Vitiki's leg after surgery. Right: A photo of the latest x-ray of the same leg.

Vitiki's rehabilitation has been an emotional project for Yuri and the team around him. "I just said the other day that I am sure it was the worst day of my life when the accident happened, and maybe one of the best days in my life when I jumped him again at a show. I was so concentrated to do everything right that day," Yuri tells. "If something would have gone wrong, it would have been so bad – there was so much pressure on me. When I went back to the stable after our round, I cried for 40 minutes. We could not imagine this day would ever come, and now we try to enjoy every day with him. It is such a gift to have him back." 

Yuri now takes each day on Vitiki's terms and the plan forward is based on how he feels. "If he feels good, maybe I will take him to Wellington in the winter," Yuri tells. 

It has taken a lot of effort from Yuri's team to get Vitiki back and he is thankful for the support they have gotten. "It has been a challenge for everyone," Yuri tells. "Sometimes I win a class, and no one cares, but when Vitiki jumps, everyone wants to know how he feels," he smiles. "It is really emotional for everyone involved, finally he is a normal horse again. It is a little dream that has gotten bigger and bigger. Although it is still a very long way to go, and a lot of things still have to go right, my dream for Vitiki now reaches as far as the Olympic Games in Tokyo."

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