A talented young up-and-coming showing producer – who suffered terrible head injuries when a faulty horsebox ramp fell on her head last year – is now under the care of a specialist in London.

Anna Richards, 20, from Aylesbeare, Devon, developed hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain) after the accident in July last year and needed a drainage tube put in her head.

“Unfortunately, there have been problems,” her mother Jula told H&H.

“She has had about six operations to try to put it right. We moved her to London from Derriford hospital in Plymouth to get a second opinion.

“She had the operation yesterday [23 July] and will need further treatment in London once she has had a period to convalesce at home,” she added.

Anna had qualified for the Royal International (RIHS) with her working hunter pony Pebbly Role Model and Nicki McGuire’s Welsh section A stallion Sarum Japhet when the accident happened.

Mrs Richards says the pin in the hydraulic arm of their lorry ramp must have fallen out. When Anna went to unload the ponies after a cross-country session, the ramp collapsed, pinning her head to the tarmac.

She suffered multiple fractures and her hearing and vision have been affected.
“We are tremendously grateful she is still alive,” said Mrs Richards.

“There were moments of real despair when neurosurgeons in Plymouth didn’t know what to do, but she is amazingly resilient.

“She sees herself getting back on a horse – that is seeing her through,” she added.

Anna’s brother Charles is riding Pebbly Role Model. They picked up their first Horse of the Year Show ticket at NPS Area 7 on 1 July.

They also won the intermediates at Stithians. But Sarum Japhet – who was backed by Anna – is not being competed at the moment.

Owner Nicki McGuire told H&H she would not send him to another rider.

“He is her light at the end of the tunnel – when she is lying in her hospital bed, she is dreaming of what she’ll do with Japhet,” she said.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (3 August)