The mother of a rider who is “lucky to be alive” after a straw bale fell on her is calling for a law to ensure children wear helmets at all times, at equestrian premises.
Sarah Taylor’s 13-year-old daughter had been helping collect straw at the livery yard in Wales on 30 December when a 900kg rectangular bale fell in a “freak accident”.
Sarah told H&H: “We were in the barn and as I was filling haynets my daughter was collecting straw and the bale fell. She tried to get out of the way but it came down on top of her and she was stuck underneath.
“I tried to lift the bale and couldn’t; I had to leave her and call for help. There is a house near the yard and a man heard me and came to help me lift the bale off. He pulled her out while I held it up.”
Three ambulance crews attended and Sarah’s daughter was taken to hospital.
“The paramedics had to take off her helmet to check her head and all she had was some swelling to her forehead from her hat,” said Sarah.
“The helmet saved her life. The doctors said if it hadn’t been for her hat she would have fractured her skull or had a brain injury and is lucky to be here. It doesn’t bear thinking of.”
Sarah’s daughter broke her ankle and a bone in her pelvis in the accident.
“She was kept in hospital overnight and given intravenous painkillers and the next morning she had more X-rays before she was allowed home. She blocks out the pain very well,” said Sarah.
“She has a hospital review next week but we think she won’t be getting back on a horse for at least eight weeks. It will just depend because the doctors said this type of pelvic injury isn’t very common in children and mounting a horse puts immense pressure on your pelvis. Her ankle will be in a cast for four to six weeks.”
Sarah said her daughter had recently started dressage lessons on her loan pony and had plans to do showing this year.
“She won some showing championships at local level last year. She is trying to put a brave face on but we’ll need to step back a few paces, she has to rest and not put pressure on the ankle so she has been using a wheelchair.”
The rider was told if she hadn't been wearing her hat she wouldn't be here now
The rider is calling for others to wear a helmet when riding after her frightening experience
Subscribe to Horse & Hound magazine from just £20.99 – that’s a saving of 45%
Sarah is urging others to ensure children wear a riding helmet at all times around equestrian premises.
“I plan to contact my local MP. I want to make it law that under 14s must wear a hat, and would like to see it stipulated in premises’ insurance. An adult has to wear a hard hat on a building site, why is it any different?” said Sarah.
“It’s been really tough and is still raw – I’ve found it really painful to deal with but my daughter has been the most positive out of us. She’s a tough cookie and says ‘because it didn’t involve a horse I’m getting back on’.
“At the end of the day we don’t know why the accident happened. When you’re on a yard you take risks but if children have helmets on then they can be a little bit safer.”
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.