Rider who sustained horrific injuries in car crash thanks those who helped rebuild her life

  • A rider who broke her neck in a car crash has thanked all those who made her return to the saddle possible.

    Laura Warburton was travelling home from a night shift in February last year when she was involved in a crash and sustained multiple broken bones.

    “I don’t remember the accident at all,” she told H&H. “I was on my way home on Monday morning at about 7.30am, but it was the Wednesday before I can remember anything.”

    Laura added emergency services told her she was conscious throughout, but the pain relief and drugs she needed affected her memory.

    She was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary by Yorkshire Air Ambulance, where scans revealed she had broken two vertebrae in her neck as well as her ankle, femur and wrist. She had also broken and dislocated her hip and had a bleed on the brain.

    Laura went through multiple operations, her leg was put in traction and in all she spent a month in hospital before returning home.

    laura warburton

    Laura and Harvey competing before the accident

    “I spent weeks in bed and I was allowed to stand again in May — I had to learn to walk again,” she said.

    “My friend Diane Wasden sold her horse in March and cared for my horse Harvey on a full-time basis until I was back on my feet.”

    Diane now part-loans Laura’s star cob and the pair have had much success with in-hand showing.

    In July, Laura sat in the saddle for the first time since her accident.

    “I built it up from getting on for five minutes, three times a week,” she said, adding her trainer Caroline Saynor built her a special platform to make it easier for her to mount and dismount.

    “Harvey was brilliant. I’ve had him 12 years, and when I was at home [from hospital], my friends brought him to see me.

    “It was hard [getting back to riding again] — I think the main thing is losing your muscle memory.”

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    Laura is back out competing again at elementary level showing and dressage. They came third in their first test back on a score of 64% and have finished second in both subsequent classes on 66% and 69%.

    “I started a blog on Facebook about my recovery, which was more for me — [an accident like this] addects you mentally as well as physically,” she said.

    She added she “would not have got through” the difficult times without the support of her family, boyfriend Shane Mallinson, “superstar Harvey” and friends, particularly Diane, Samantha Wright, Alison Grant, Kathy Allen and instructor, Caroline.

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