Suzanna Hext’s road to recovery: tears of happiness and future plans

  • The time has certainly flown by since my last blog. I’ve been enjoying the luxury of Mum’s cooking and not having to deal with turning on any crazy hobs (I wonder whether my ‘Hobby’ nickname will still stand?!) I am really looking forward to going back to Oaksey House next week and seeing what I can achieve in my time up there.

    Suzanna Hext and family

    At home with family

    I’ve had a jam-packed couple of weeks reinforcing my time at Oaksey, catching up with friends, enjoying the sun and being back on a real horse!

    I feel as if I’ve had to ‘lap of honour’ for everyone since I have got home! Come on show us….No pressure! My confidence has risen and I feel like I am ready to take on new challenges. I think this is due to having more strength and having looked after myself at Oaksey. (Just about!)

    Don’t get me wrong I still miss the old days, my old body and my dream life when I could run around carefree. But the difference is that I now look forward to the days ahead of me and my future. It had taken a long time to get to this stage, but my God it’s a fantastic feeling to finally have!

    Emotions running high

    Oh dear, there have been a few emotions flying around since I got home from Oaksey! All happy tears, but I think it’s made me even more aware of where I have come from to get to this stage.

    My family and friends are staggered by the improvement and I spent the first evening at a party showing my improvement to everyone. However, my leg was quite tired and it wasn’t really co-operating! I was determined to make it – I had the biggest grin on may face, it was so lovely to see everyone and so genuinely happy about the improvement I have made.

    Reliving the high five with Sue

    Reliving the high five with Sue

    It all started with Sue (hydro therapist) shedding a few tears, when I managed to do a few very unconventional steps of walk steps along the side of the pool. We ‘high fived’ and I did a little dance and had a round of applause from the other patients in the pool! The week after, I had to do round two as Tracy had missed out the previous week, then she started crying!

    They have seen me through two years of my recovery and through some pretty tough times, when I have been in an extraordinary amount of pain, very ill and low.

    Gemma (Peninsular Community Health) my neuro physio, was completely over the moon. I haven’t managed to crack her yet! There is still time! We’ve been working very hard on my foot placement and looking into AFO splints, as my extensor spasms tend to turn my foot on its side. In my last physio session, we were lucky enough have another physio, Sue to help us. She placed the foot and Gemma focused on keeping me upright and trying to stop me from letting the spasms make me like a banana to the right!

    Driving forward

    I returned home from Oaksey House on the Saturday and it wasn’t long before I got my fix of horses back on the Sunday. I have to say the Equicizer just didn’t quite cut the mustard, when it came to eliminating the withdrawals! I can honestly say that getting back in the saddle has been life changing for me and a massive thank you to Mark and Becky for making it possible and not holding me back!

    Mark Cunliffe and Becky Monk (Lakefield Equestrian) had prepared a new stead, Marley, for me to go on to when I got back from Oaksey. They had taken a lot of time and got him used to the lift and prepared him for my leg going into spasm, I am so grateful to them for taking the time to do this. I have however still got a lot of love for Buster who started me off!

    Suzanna Hext and Marley

    New steed Marley

    Marley has allowed me to be able to progress and start performing some more lateral movements and canter work. All very exciting!

    I’ve also learnt another valuable lesson…don’t go to the gym before you have a lesson! My leg certainly didn’t appreciate it, and the spasms were 10 times worse. Although, I think my friend from university (Lauren Hendry) still thought it was pretty impressive that I was even cantering!

    I was told to rest up and not be stupid before my lesson with Pammy Hutton on Marley. I was under strict instructions from Mark! My lesson with Pammy was just incredible — I was on such a high. I’ve missed being beasted to “sit on your bum, look up, shoulders back” (all at the same time). I will continue with Pammy when I move back up to Gloucestershire, and we had some discussion over my aims and looking forward to competing at para dressage. It’s going to be a dream come true after everything.

    Pammy has done so much for me over the years. I started having lessons with her when I was 12-years-old and I have loved every minute.


    The hard decision about whether to put Woody on loan has certainly paid off. He is going great guns with Phoebe Clunn. He has even had a whole new experience of Pony Club camp!

    My five-year-old OBOS Quality mare is up for sale. She is extremely smart but unfortunately the circumstances mean that she needs to go. See her advert here

    Reinforcing my time at Oaksey

    I’ve been very lucky to have been given the use of the Roseland Gig Club gym, I am extremely grateful for this. It’s fantastic as it’s only 10 minutes down the road and I can use it as and when and they have exactly what I need. I try to go pretty much every day, unless I have a lesson!

    Out and about

    I have been making the most of my time off in between going back up to Oaksey.

    Sophie Brookes and Suzanna Hext kayaking

    Sophie Brookes and I kayaking

    I have now discovered that kayaking is possible, if you have someone to help you to get in. I have been out kayaking in a double kayak with my brother’s fiancé (Sophie Brookes). I have to say it’s a bit of a comedy act with us getting into the kayak, as Sophie is pregnant and I’ve got my problems. I think some people were thinking we were slightly mad! We strapped my crutches in and we were off.

    A day out in Plymouth was definitely due with a couple of the original Wiegersma gang, Sophie Stones and Kate Wilcockson. We had so much to catch up on, and even though I think we are meant to have grown up, when we are together we slip back into the good old days! It was carnage shopping in Plymouth, it was like kids being let out for the day, I was parting the ways with my crutches and the laughter was non-stop, so much so that my leg was going into spasm with excitement.

    The Wiegersma gang

    The Wiegersma gang

    I have also been making a number of visits into hospital recently to see a friend called Zoey Wright. Zoey and I met when we were on Carnkie Ward (Treliske) together for a number of weeks over Christmas. We have stayed friends and we have helped each other through the tough times. Zoey has been in and out of hospital for two years with Ulcerative Colitis.

    She wrote an article for the Royal Cornwall Hospital Magazine (page 32/33) which you can view here.

    Zoey is on the same ward that we were on together and the nurses were quick as a flash at remembering me — I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing! It’s interesting for people that didn’t know me before the accident to see me now (off the opiates and feeling well) as they keep on saying they are now getting a picture of the real Suz!

    Future plans

    The plan going forward is to go back up to Oaksey House on Monday for a couple of weeks to continue my rehabilitation and then moving on from this I will be going back to work at B and W Equine Vets in Gloucestershire at the start of October.

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