Top New Zealand equestrian Andrew Nicholson is home from hospital and "extremely fortunate" not to be paralysed after he fell from his horse at a recent event.

Nicholson fell at the final fence of the cross country section of an event in Gloucestershire, England, earlier this month.

The 54-year-old was taken to hospital, where he had neck surgery.

The Olympian and former world number one is now back at his English home recovering, and while he's fully mobile, he won't be riding again this season.


"In terms of my injury I realise I have been incredibly lucky," Nicholson said in a statement, reported in the Guardian newspaper.

"My surgeon, Mr Jeremy Reynolds, told me that the injury I sustained to my neck would have caused paralysis at the time of injury in 98 per cent of cases.

"I was extremely fortunate this did not happen. I underwent an eight-hour operation, where they repaired the fractures and stabilised my cervical spine.

"This procedure in itself was not without risk and I cannot thank enough the team of spinal surgeons at the John Radcliffe Hospital for what they have done.

"Obviously I won't be riding again this season, as it will take some time to fully recover. While I have to take things easy, I am up and about and fully mobile and look forward to getting back to full fitness in due course.

"I am very pleased to be back at home and I wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone myself for their kind messages and support, which have meant a lot to me and my family."