A rider has returned to meet the air ambulance crew who saved her life after her horse stood on her neck.

Melanie Rogers fell from her mare Bonnie last July while asking her to walk through a river near Tudhoe in County Durham.

In her haste to get away Bonnie stood on Mrs Rogers’ neck, dissecting one of her carotid arteries — one of the major blood vessels that supplies blood to the brain, neck and face.

This injury is more common in road accidents and can lead to stroke, as it did in Mrs Rogers’ case.

“I remember going down the bank, I remember coming off and I remember Bonnie standing on me,” she said.

“I was trying to stand up, saying I was going to be all right in a minute, then I can’t remember much at all.”

The 57-year-old quickly became confused, lost control of her body and her speech became slurred.

air ambulance

Anouska Rogers-Smith, Tim West, Sarah Graham, Kasha Rogers-Smith and Melanie Rogers

Her daughter Anouska Rogers-Smith, a 26-year-old veterinary nurse who was there at the time, said it was “horrendous”.

“We didn’t realise at first just how serious it was, but when the helicopter arrived and the doctor and paramedic rushed over, I thought it must be bad,” she said.

“She kept saying she was 28 years old. The doctor suddenly said she was deteriorating and all of a sudden they were off.

“They were amazing — calm and reassuring, they just dealt with everything so professionally.

They saved our mum’s life and we are eternally grateful.”

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The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) flew Mrs Rogers to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesborough, which took just seven minutes.

She was given emergency treatment at the hospital and spend two days on the high-dependency ward.

Since then she has worked to rebuild her physical strength, her speech and her relationship with Bonnie.

air ambulance

Last week, Mrs Rogers and visited Durham Tees Valley Airport, the base of the GNAAS which flew to her aid last year.

She was joined on the visit by Anouska and her other daughter Kasha Rogers-Smith. They met the crew of the charity’s helicopter and were shown around.

Kasha will run this year’s Great North Run to raise money for GNAAS, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

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