A groom who ended up with a lead rope clip springing shut through her hand had taken her gloves off moments before the accident.

Freelancer Gail Marsh was leading up a runner at Larkhill racecourse, Sailsbury, on Sunday (7 January), having agreed to help out the yard concerned as their full-time groom is pregnant.

She unclipped the rope from one side of the horse’s bit, after which “I don’t know what happened!” she told H&H.

“It was just a freak accident. It was nothing to do with the horse, he was just being normal, I was just unclipping the rope like I’ve done a million times, but for some reason, the clip went through my finger.”

Gail said at first she thought she had just pinched the skin, as it was no more painful than that.

“People keep asking me how I managed it and I have no idea!” she said.

“I realised it was through my hand and thought ‘that’s not ideal’. Luckily, someone was there and could undo the other clip from the other side of the bit – it would have been horrific if the horse had pulled away then but luckily he was very good.

“I was going to take it out myself but was told to go to St John Ambulance, who said ‘Nope, you’re not taking that out and neither are we! You’re going to A&E’.”

Warning: very graphic image.

Gail underwent two operations, to remove the clip and have the wound stitched, and spent two nights in hospital, but had not suffered any damage to vital structures and did not need a skin graft. She is now mucking out her own two horses again, albeit with rubber gloves keeping her dressing clean.

“I was so lucky,” she said.

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“People keep asking why I didn’t have gloves on and I had, but they’re so bulky and I’d just that minute taken them off to get the paddock rug off the horse and the jockey on.

“The yard owners have asked whether I’ll lead up for them again, or if this has put me off and I said yes – but maybe I’ll use a lead rein with a buckle next time!”

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