Suzanna Hext’s road to recovery: exciting times ahead — the only way is up!!

  • Suzanna was competing at 2-star level eventing before an accident while riding a young horse at home in 2012 changed her life

    I can hardly contain myself at the moment, I have plans and exciting times ahead. I feel relieved to have a clear idea of where I’m going and my future ahead of me…

    I’m also extremely pleased to be back on my crutches again, after my most recent operation and back behind the wheel — freedom!!

    The unbelievable moment I have been building up too, is just a week or 2 away. Yes, you’ve guessed it — getting back on a horse!

    I have been gradually getting all my riding gear ready and dusting off the breeches. I am planning on starting off riding again at Lakefield Equestrian Centre with Mark Cunliffe.  They have got a variety of horses, knowledge and equipment to help me get going.

    I live for riding, and being around the incredible creatures. The partnership and trust you build up between you is like nothing else. I can’t wait to have this part of my life back in a big way.

    I’m also booked in for an assessment appointment up at Oaksey House (Injured Jockey Fund rehabilitation centre) on 14 July. The team at Oaksey have already been extremely helpful and have suggested that I have an assessment, to decide the best way forward with my rehab. I am really looking forward to hearing what they have to say and it will be great to see the place in the flesh.

    Jam packed…

    I’ve had a couple of busy weeks, which has been fantastic as I love being busy — it’s a great feeling. I feel far more mentally structured at the moment. I think this stems from actually getting some sleep at night because I am tired. It’s a vicious cycle, if you can’t sleep, you can’t think straight.

    I have been driving the gator, and helping Dad move sheep from the field to the shearing shed for 3 days. It’s amazing to be be involved and able to help out on the farm again. Working on the farm has been a fundamental part of my life from a very young age.

    I’ve also been being quite domesticated for me (definitely a 1st). I cooked all the lunches, snacks etc for the shearers. They survived, which is quite amazing, and were actually quite complementary about my cooking. Job well done!

    I took a trip up to see my horses Woody and Milly at Tamsyn Hutchin’s yard.  They are both looking excellent and Woody is loving being back in work again and being pampered. He’s so gentle with me on my crutches (pictured above).

    The yearlings and my old event mare Sweet Jemima

    The yearlings and my old event mare Sweet Jemima

    It’s been a long time (before my accident) since I last taught a lesson, but I thought it was about time I got back into the swing of it again.  I gave my friends Sarah and Charlotte a flatwork lesson to gradually get me going. It’s just a question of getting the confidence back in what I am saying, and building up from there. Luckily I don’t feel like I’ve forgotten it.

    Recently, I ventured out to Treborough Horse Trials, with Lucy Wiegersma, Padraig McCarthy and her head girl Tiggy in the lorry for the day. It felt great to get out on the circuit again and see so many friendly faces and watch Lucy and Padraig compete.

    Lucy came 1st and 2nd and Padraig 8th. So, it was a good day all round with some very smart up-and-coming young horses. I even had a little race with Hendrick Wiegersma (1 stick) and me on my crutches — I won, just!

    At the weekend we gave my great aunt Barbara a lovely send off by spreading her ashes on Helman Tor, Bodmin. I’m sure my surgeon would have been pretty unhappy about my mountaineering up such a hill, but it was well worth it.

    My cousin Jess and I on Helman Tor, toasting to Barbara

    My cousin Jess and I on Helman Tor, toasting great aunt Barbara


    I’m making massive improvements in physio and hydro at the moment. I am getting so much stronger physically. I do however, have weeks when my body can’t cope or takes a slight step backwards. It’s never going to be a completely linear improvement, there will always be ups and downs along the way.

    I’ve been doing lots for different exercises in my neuro-physio sessions with Gemma (Peninsula Community Health). We have started trying to get me upright on the tilt table, with a bend in the knee (because of the nerve pain and spasms). It’s a challenge getting weight down through my left leg, as I concentrate on not just using my right one.

    Practicing on the Tilt Table with Gemma, trying to get some weight and feedback through my left foot

    Practicing on the Tilt Table with Gemma, trying to get some weight and feedback through my left foot

    We’ve also been working on getting some control over my lower leg, pushing a skate board backwards and forwards.  This nearly resulted in Gemma losing her front teeth, when the spasms came on really suddenly!

    I’ve still been working really hard in my saddle in physio — I have progressed to having my stirrups on, in preparation… I find this quite hard with the left foot/ankle as it has a mind of its own. I have purchased a “Daps” safety stirrup, which just means I can balance slightly more easily. We used a metronome, to try and simulate the rhythm of the trot. Gemma certainly comes up with some ingenious ideas.

    Practicing balancing in my saddle with stirrups on

    Practicing balancing in my saddle with stirrups on

    To follow…

    I should have some very exciting news by the time I next blog and lots of photos!! I’m also looking forward to keeping busy and heading off to Barbury Castle with Lucy, Padraig, and Tiggy. Until then,


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