‘Freak accidents happen’: owner warns others to always wear a helmet

  • A rider who was knocked unconscious by her mare is urging others always to wear a hat when handling horses.

    Cambridgeshire-based Sarah Doonan was pulling her 17-year-old mare’s mane when the accident took place (16 November).

    Her horse, Lottie, reared up and struck her in the head.

    “She reared and that is all I can remember before waking up in my tack room where she had flung me, either with her front hooves or her head,” said Ms Doonan.

    “I’d knocked my head on the side of the door.

    “I had my phone in my pocket and called a friend I had ridden with earlier. She and my other hunting buddy were around in minutes.

    “An ambulance was called and an air ambulance. I was taken to hospital and lost consciousness several times”

    Ms Doonan was X-rayed and the scan found that she had a non-malignant brain tumour that was unrelated to the accident.

    She spent two nights in hospital and is having surgery this month for the tumour.

    Ms Doonan, who enjoys hunting with chestnut Lottie, was not wearing a hat at the time of the accident.

    She now always wears a helmet when at the yard and is urging others to do the same.

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    “The moral of my story is always wear a riding hat whilst dealing with horses even if you know them very well — freak accidents happen,” Ms Doonan added.

    “And always have your phone with you. I could have been there for hours as this was 10.30am and my husband wasn’t due home until much later.

    “A few years ago my friend fell off in the middle of nowhere breaking her ankle in several places and didn’t have a phone. Luckily we came across her eventually.

    “Also when we are out hunting we always at the beginning reiterate where our vehicle keys are.”

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