A rider has issued a warning to fellow horse owners after she was trampled while bandaging her horse in her horsebox.

Anna Cheney (pictured competing another horse) suffered a broken right arm, broken left thumb and required 10 stitches to her head on Monday 15 January, but credits her Charles Owen helmet for saving her life.

“I had just finished a great training session with Caroline Moore at Vale View Equestrian with my six-year-old, Douglas,” explained Anna, who events professionally alongside running a livery yard in Cambridgeshire. “The weather was awful, so I decided to untack Douglas and then finish off getting him ready to travel home when he was back on the lorry, which isn’t an out-of-the-ordinary thing for us to do.”

Anna and Douglas competing last year

While Anna was bandaging Douglas’s front legs in the Oakley four-horse lorry, he panicked.

“Something to do with me bandaging him frightened him and where I was kneeling down, I became unbalanced and knocked over by one of his legs,” said Anna, a married mother of two young children. “The commotion happening underneath him made things worse and he was rearing up and thrashing around with his front legs. I thought ‘this is going to kill me’ and I just wanted it to stop. There were hooves, shavings and legs flying everywhere.”

Anna’s mother, Jill Tolley, watched events unfold from the ramp of the horsebox, but was helpless until Douglas came to a stop.

“I crawled out from underneath him and lay on my back on the ramp with blood pouring from my head — the whole thing felt like an eternity, but it probably only lasted five seconds.”

Warning: graphic image.

Anna says the fact she was wearing a riding helmet almost definitely saved her life.

“Usually the first thing a lot of us are guilty of doing after riding is taking our hats off as soon as we dismount,” stated Anna, who was wearing a Charles Owen Ayr8 hat which was damaged beyond repair in the incident. “The only reason I didn’t that day was because I had another lesson on my other horse immediately after Douglas’s session so I thought I might as well keep my hat on. I’m sure it saved my life.”

An air ambulance was called to the scene, but Anna was eventually taken by road ambulance to The Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, where she then spent four days, including her 33rd birthday.

“The medical staff were amazing and they just kept telling me how lucky I had been,” said Anna, who is now recovering at home. “They’re hopeful that I can be back eventing by April, which is great news.”

Anna’s warning to other riders is: “No matter what situation or circumstance you are in, or whether your horse is young or old, the next time you are about to take your riding hat off, just take a second thought and ask yourself if you really need to take your hat off right now, even if you only need to tie up a haynet.”

Continues below…



Douglas, a novice eventer whom Anna has owned for 18 months, was not harmed in the incident.

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.