A rider who fractured her back in a fall is raising funds for the air ambulance that came to her aid.
Equine artist Rachel Drury was riding with friend Kate Elkington in Frith woods, Ledbury, on 22 March when the horses were spooked by a pheasant and Rachel fell off.
Rachel, who was riding Kate’s daughter’s 15.2hh gelding Loui, told H&H: “We were having a lovely ride and the horses had been as good as gold. Kate was in front and a pheasant flew underneath Loui and I went out the side, landing on my back.
“I couldn’t get up and we were in the middle of nowhere. I could move my arms and legs so I thought I must be ok but I was in agony.”
Kate called an ambulance, and took the horses back to the yard, but the crew could not find Rachel in the woods.
“Kate dropped off the horses and ran back to me. I was still lying on the ground freezing and I was in agony, ” said Rachel. “Eventually the ambulance crew found me but they couldn’t get me down to the road by stretcher and had to call for an air ambulance.”
The Midlands Air Ambulance helicopter was able to land in a nearby field and Rachel was taken to hospital.
“I had an X-ray and four doctors gathered round and told me I had a compression fracture of one of my lumbar vertebrae. I’m really lucky it wasn’t my spinal cord,” said Rachel.
“I’ve been fitted with a brace I have to wear for six weeks and then I will need to go and see a specialist.”
Rachel has started a fundraiser on Facebook for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity.
“I’m so grateful to the air ambulance – I don’t know what we would have done without them.” said Rachel.
‘It’s given people a giggle – it definitely made the man from the air ambulance laugh!’
The rider spent two months in hospital and cannot remember anything from the fall
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“The air ambulance isn’t government funded and they need to raise £9 million every year to help people. I had never really thought about the reality of needing the air ambulance until it happened, my daughter rides too and it’s reassuring to know they are there.”
Rachel hopes to get back to work and plans to return to the saddle once she has recovered.
“It will be a while until I’m painting because you need to stand up for a long time and it takes a lot of energy concentrating. I’ll definitely be back riding when I can – I can’t wait,” she said.
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