Suzanna Hext’s road to recovery: A new ride and a bionic leg [VIDEO]

  • It was just six months ago that I climbed back in the saddle, never thinking anything could top that day or that I would be as lucky as I have been.

    I’ve had a week full of unbelievable excitement and emotions, it has certainly made the smile grow across my face even more than usual. I am on cloud nine and need to be careful not to get wrinkle lines from the constant grin!

    Last Wednesday was a huge day for me physically, mentally and emotionally.

    The beginning of this rollercoaster was catching sight of my Mum’s car driving into Talland to watch me ride. This is the first time since before I had my accident (July 11th 2014), so, as you can imagine, it was quite a big deal.

    Meet my new ride

    For Ever

    The next part of the day was soon to unravel as I met my new ride For Ever (hopefully an apt name), owned by Marilyn Pilgrim and Pammy Hutton.

    He is an 11-year-old Hanoverian stallion by For Feeling, whose grand sire is For Pleasure. Firstly I rode Amo, who at the prospect of another horse coming onto the scene seriously upped her game and went beautifully.

    While I rode Amo, For Ever was being ridden and safety tested by event rider Alice Dunsdon. I think my Mum was having minor heart failure at this moment in time, as it soon became clear to her that I was going to be getting on him that day!

    Marilyn was great at keeping her distracted, while we practiced with Alice getting on and off him not very elegantly.

    Marilyn Pilgrim and iFor Ever didn’t bat and eyelid when I got on and was an absolute saint to ride. Mum breathed a huge sigh of relief.

    He gave me a fantastic feeling. I didn’t really want to stop and get off. As usual I became over excited and slightly overwhelmed, so much so that I honestly didn’t know what to do with myself when I had finished!

    I am extremely grateful to Marilyn and Pammy for this unbelievable opportunity and for believing in me throughout. I can’t tell you how much this means to me.

    At the end of my lesson, understandably Mum admitted she found it very difficult to see me back riding again after my horrific accident, but said she absolutely loved watching me ride and seeing me so happy.

    We had an emotional moment before Mum drove home to Cornwall, but I am hoping to see her up at Talland again soon. It was a huge milestone and one I am over the moon about.


    Fitness levels

    Last week I rode twice on Wednesday back to back, and twice on Friday. This is the first time since my accident that I have ridden two horses in the same day and I managed it twice in a week!

    My fitness levels are definitely improving and I had a little smile to myself as I got off one and on to another. This is what I used to do prior to my accident and I was dead chuffed to be doing it again.

    Deborah Wells (Pammy’s rider and a pupil at Talland) is riding For Ever on the days that I can’t get to Talland. She is also riding him before I get on at the moment as well and is doing a fantastic job with him.

    In my Friday lesson with Abi Hutton, Amo was clearly still in a strop about For Ever and gave me some incredible work. I even had a bash at some three-time changes across the diagonal, although I wasn’t particularly good at the timing!

    We are doing two British Dressage elementaries at Hunters Equestrian Centre on Sunday coming up, so fingers crossed the jealously continues to work to our advantage!

    Continued below…

    Read more of Suzanna’s blogs

    Oaksey House

    My weeks are particularly full on at the moment, however, this is just the way I love it!

    I am still swimming a lot, which I find is great for my spasms. I have upped my hours at B&W Equine Vets and I am really enjoying every aspect of pharmacy.

    I ride as much as possible and I go to the Cadbury House Gym when I have a spare moment.

    I typically visit Oaksey House on Tuesdays, when I have two physio session and a massage session.

    In the last two appointments with Cat I have been working in the Alter G Bionic Leg (see video, top). This helps you strengthen during therapy sessions, as it assists the weakened limb and improves balance.

    It also can help me slightly with my foot placement, trying to get my heel to the floor and control my spasms.

    Home sweet home

    JamieSophJack and I

    A couple of weekends ago I went home to Cornwall and had a most refreshing weekend. It was beautiful sunshine, and we went for two stunning walks on the beach.

    SuzandJackEverything went smoothly apart from the sinking sand, which meant my crutches buried themselves and it made it very difficult to hop though — quite entertaining for everyone else though!

    I also consumed my compulsory Cornish pasty — bliss!

    I spent time with my gorgeous nephew, Jack, who had changed a surprising amount since I had last seen him.

    I saw the two cheeky two-year-olds and my old event mare Sweet Jemima, who all looked very well and seriously fluffy! Obviously not forgetting my little terrier Tapi, who was completely beside herself to see me! I miss her so much when I’m away.


    Looking for sponsors

    I have been extremely fortunate so far to have the fantastic support of Marilyn, Pammy and the Talland team. However, I have now reached the stage where I am looking for any possible help to fulfil my ultimate aims to ride at internationals and one day the paralympics.

    I would be very grateful for any assistance, be it financial or in the form of equipment. So if you would like to join me and be part of this exciting journey, please get in touch with me by email: suzannahext@hotmail.co.uk.


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