A rider who fell and was knocked unconscious while hacking was rescued by a group of ladies on their way back from a hunt ball – still sporting their evening dresses.
Alison Bywater’s gelding Indie slipped when she was riding in a field near her home in Kemsing, Kent, at about 3pm on 21 January.
The 17.2hh homebred got up and trotted out of the field – but was spotted by Gina Weare, of Chart Farm Stud, and her two grooms Josie Butler and Kitty Regan, who were returning from the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent hunt ball, had not yet been to bed and were still in their glad rags.
Undeterred, the ladies captured Indie and put him in one of the stud’s stables, then leapt aboard a quad bike to go to Miss Bywater’s rescue; covering her in a duvet, calling an ambulance – and posing for a quick picture.
“I don’t know where they’d been all morning but fortunately, they were coming back just in time to see him coming out of the field, so they knew where to come and find me,” Miss Bywater told H&H.
“I was cantering and the last thing I remember is coming up to a path and thinking I’d better slow down because it would be slippery – but I obviously didn’t slow down enough. It was my fault; Indie’s such a good boy.
“When they found me, they covered me in a duvet and asked if they could take a picture, so there they are in their ball gowns!”
Miss Bywater was taken to King’s College Hospital in London as paramedics were unsure how bad her injury was, but she says although she will have a further check-up, “my brain’s all right now” and she was only bruised otherwise. Indie was also unharmed.
The 59-year-old posted on Facebook to thank her rescuers, and managed to find out their names as a result.
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“They were amazing, I’m so lucky they were there,” said Miss Bywater, who has since visited the ladies and taken them “some bottles”.
“Everyone was fantastic; the paramedics, the staff at King’s – nothing was too much trouble and I’m so impressed with the power of social media, I couldn’t believe the response I got from my thank-you.”