‘She kicked me between the eyes’: event rider back in saddle after freak accident

  • An owner is warning other riders of the importance of wearing a safety helmet around horses after her mare “double-barrelled her between the eyes”.

    Hampshire-based Liz Northcote was turning out her horse when the accident took place.

    “It was a normal day turning out, then she shot off out of the blue and double-barrelled me between the eyes,” she told H&H.

    Liz was alone at the time but managed to walk to a nearby road despite suffering a serious wound to her face.

    A driver saw she was injured and called for an ambulance.

    She was taken to Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital for treatment.

    “I was left with a hairline fracture to my skull and a wound requiring 11 stitches,” said Liz.

    “I had no recollection of being kicked in the head and I don’t know how long I was down in the field for.

    “It was only when I got to hospital that I realised how serious it was.”

    The accident took place last November but following a long process of recovery Liz is planning to compete this season, with her first British Eventing (BE) competition on 15 April.

    “I was very weak for eight weeks and it was another three months before I was confident riding again,” she said.

    “I was very nervous turning out to start with — I had to say to myself, ‘You can do this’.”

    She now wants to urge other riders to take care when handling horses.

    “Having worked at a pre-training yard and competed up to BE intermediate, experience does not make a difference,” she added.

    “I always wear a hat now.

    “There was no indication anything would happen that day, it was very unexpected.

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    “I want to make other riders aware that something so nearly fatal can happen at any given moment.

    “It is always best to protect your head when handling horses, from turning out to lunging or clipping.”

    Liz is now planning to develop as a rider and looking for sponsorship while completing her BHS teaching qualifications to specialise in getting nervous riders back on form.

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