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A British dressage rider is recovering after a fall that knocked her unconscious for around six hours.

Demelza Hawes was riding Disco Diva in the advanced medium at Addington on Saturday (14 January) when the accident took place.

She had already ridden in the prix st georges with Fabritzio earlier that day.

Demelza has limited memory of the accident, but her groom Claire Jarrett saw the fall.

“We had just done the trot work in the test brilliantly,” Demelza told H&H.

“I then asked for canter and I don’t really know what happened, but she kicked out then came up in front hitting my head, knocking me out.

“We both fell to the floor and she scrambled to avoid me but caught my ribs and liver — I’m thankful she’s barefoot.”

Demelza, who was wearing a safety helmet at the time, was left with a partially collapsed lung, broken ribs and a laceration to her liver.

She is unsure what caused the accident.

“I’m not sure if the bitter temperatures, snow and being clipped made her overreact or she became sore because of a recent osteo treatment,,” she said.

“I really don’t know as she’s such a pro, never lets me down and always goes for it between the boards.

“I don’t really remember much of the day. I know I did the prix st georges test and vaguely remembering the pirouettes.

“It’s one of those freak accidents as I’m always able to read my horses as they’re homebred and like my children.”

Demelza is now recovering in Stoke Mandeville Hospital and “won’t be back coaching or training for a while”.

Claire and Demelza’s family are looking after her yard while she recovers.


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“I’m looking forward to getting back to them,” she added.

“I’m stabilising but finding it hard having so many drugs pumped into me —my body is not used to it.

“Since training as a yoga instructor I’ve been super healthy but they say that will get me back a lot quicker to full health.

“I sincerely hope it didn’t cause a problem for Addington — I don’t like to be hindrance, but by all accounts I was well taken care of there.

“The hospital staff here at Stoke Mandeville have been so lovely and my clients have just been amazingly kind — I’m a bit overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness.”