Fenland showjumper achieves her dream after suffering near career-ending stroke

Bianca Seward-Morris competed at the All England Jumping Championships at Hickstead after returning

Bianca Seward-Morris competed at the All England Jumping Championships at Hickstead after returning to the saddle following a stroke. Picture: SPIDGE PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

A showjumper from the Fens who thought she would never ride again after suffering a stroke has achieved her dream by competing at one of the sport’s most well-known events.

Bianca Seward-Morris from Chatteris suffered a stroke while at hospital for a dermatologist appointment last year, when she felt her hand and leg were not working as normal.

After her doctor suspected a migraine, Bianca then failed to stand up on her own, her speech deteriorated and was sent to A&E as a precaution before undergoing an MRI scan.

Speaking to the Horse & Hound magazine, Bianca said: “I came back and they said ‘you’ve had a stroke’.

“I was so shocked; everyone had kept saying it was a migraine, and that I was too young to have a stroke.”

Following the stroke, Bianca endured severe headaches, her speech was slow, suffered from insomnia and her co-ordination had deteriorated.

“One of the most worrying things when it came to riding again was how bad my balance was; I thought if I couldn’t get that, I wouldn’t be able to get back on a horse,” she said.

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“I said to them at the hospital, ‘I don’t care if I can’t do anything else, as long as I can showjump again’.”

Since returning to the saddle around Christmas last year, Bianca competed in the 1.40m class with her 16-year-old gelding Just For Spot at the All England Jumping Championships at Hickstead between September 2-6.

Bianca, who has 15 horses, prepared for the event by riding with her appaloosa Dino in July when they jumped a 1.15m class before applying to enter Hickstead.

But although she admitted she has not totally overcome the after-effects of her stroke, Bianca is grateful she could finally return to the competitive arena.

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“I had always thought you have a stroke and you’re back to normal; that’s not it at all,” she said.

“I didn’t think it would be possible to get back into the showjumping arena again, but we have done it. I want to raise awareness of strokes in the young, and to show that life can go on after a stroke.

“Dino’s amazing, and when I feel most normal is when I’m on a horse.”