Gloucestershire-based event and dressage rider Spencer Sturmey is in the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford after an accident on New Year’s Day.
“I was in the haybarn and lost my footing from the top of the stack,” explained Spencer. “I eventually landed on my feet after a scrappy descent, but I got up and dusted myself down.
“I had quite severe pins and needles down my left side throughout the night. First thing in the morning, I mucked out three horses, then drove a friend back to Leamington Spa. The pain got worse as I was driving there and I was losing feeling in my left side, so after dropping my friend off I took myself to Warwick A&E. I don’t know how I got there.
“I was taken through quite quickly for assessment and following X-rays and a CT scan they found I had two vertebrae fractures, C7 [the bottom cervical (neck) vertebra] and T1 [the top thoracic vertebra – the thoracic vertebrae carry the ribs].
“I was then ‘blue lighted’ to the John Radcliffe hospital to have an MRI scan. Most of the feeling has returned to my left side now and I’m continuing with physio while I’m here.”
Spencer, 36, has a history of spinal injuries – he broke his neck in 1991 after a cross-country schooling fall and spent over five months in halo traction and also had five months in plaster after a non-equestrian accident in 2009.
“I’m not sure how long I’ll be hospitalised or when I’ll be back in the saddle, but I am determined to be back and ready for the start of the 2012 season,” he said.