Eventer who broke her neck issues plea to those competing alone

  • An event rider who broke her neck in a fall is urging others to take precautions when competing alone.

    Keeley Tongue was taking part in the BE90 at Bold Heath on 13 August when her 11-year-old gelding Kolczan tripped and fell during the cross–country.

    “A couple of fences from home we came to a skinny house with a small step, with a couple of strides between the two,” Keeley told H&H.

    “Kolczan tripped and stumbled over the house and pecked on landing, sending me somersaulting over his head.

    “I landed with a thud and I knew I’d hurt myself. My neck was exceptionally painful.”

    Keeley was on her own at the event, but as she had already having informed event officials of this, her emergency contacts were quickly reached and her horse could be transported home.

    “I cannot thank everyone enough for all they did for me,” she said.

    “I was attended to by well-trained, well-coordinated staff who took the utmost care of me until I was airlifted away and kept in contact with me to make sure I had everything I needed and was aware what was happening with my horse and my car and trailer.”

    Keeley was taken to Warrington Hospital by air ambulance.

    “I was discharged, diagnosed with concussion and whiplash, but the following morning I received a call to say they had reviewed my scan and I had actually broken my neck,” she said.

    Keeley had broken part of her C7 vertebra and now has a neck brace fitted.

    “My prognosis is good but no riding for at least three months,” she said.

    Kolczan was uninjured in the fall.

    Keeley now wants to encourage riders to carry out the same steps she had before the event.

    “I am gobsmacked by the amount of people who don’t say when they are travelling alone,” she said.

    Continued below…

    “Whenever I compete alone I inform the secretary when booking in as well as the dressage, showjumping and cross-country stewards that I’m by myself.

    “I leave all my contact details, as well as horse and trailer information, with the secretary so they have info to hand, which is current on that day. The information we input on the British Eventing website may have altered.

    “It helped speed up the whole process for me and informed others of what happened.”

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