An amateur showjumper who spent nine days in intensive care after a serious fall on the Sunshine Tour feels “incredibly lucky” not to have been more seriously hurt.

Ireland’s Aisling Byrne was riding a friend’s horse back to the stables on 10 February when in a “quick and freak occurrence”, it reared, fell backwards and landed on her.

The 31-year-old broke both hips, smashed her pelvis and suffered internal bleeding.

“I have been nine days in the intensive care unit in Faro, but despite this, I feel incredibly lucky,” she said.

“I was so lucky he did not land on my chest, or break my back; I was so lucky that there just happened to be an orthopaedic and other specialist surgeons available in Faro Hospital that evening; so lucky that they rushed me straight into surgery to control the internal bleeding which was immense… but most of all I feel the luckiest to have the most amazing friends and family around me.”

Aisling, who was placed in amateur classes at the Liverpool International Horse Show in December, and has jumped to CSI3* level, thanked all those who had visited her in hospital and offered to help with her horses and the travel company she runs.

“They truly have been unbelievable,” she said. “Events like this put things into perspective and life seems to be truly about people and our love and support of one another in their times of need. I feel so lucky to have received such love.”

Aisling has since flown home to Ireland and undergone further surgery after which, she said, she intended to “go into rehab with a vengeance”.

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“I know it won’t be in any way easy,” she added. “These challenges in life are put in our paths for a reason and I truly believe that out of times of adversity come times of great opportunity so I can’t wait to get back out there, better and stronger than ever and see what opportunities await me. I know it will be a long road but with the support of my loved ones, I will face each challenge head-on.”

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