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Rider injured in plane accident

A young event rider is recovering from the injuries she received when the horse she was riding bolted after being spooked by a low flying aircraft.

Sasha Smith, 22, from Louth in Lincolnshire, was riding a five-year-old gelding through a farmyard when a low flying jet passed directly over head.

“This horse is used to planes, but the jet was coming straight towards us at tree level and he just panicked,” says Sasha. “He reared up and fell backwards on top of me.”

The pair landed in a 4ft deep ditch filled with metal spikes used to hold fence posts.

“One of the metal spikes went through the saddle,” says Sasha. “We think the horse is going to be OK — he lacerated one side of his body all over and severed two veins in his front leg.”

Sasha suffered cracked ribs, back and shoulder injuries in the incident, which Ministry of Defence police are now investigating.

This latest accident comes just two weeks after 39-year-old Heather Bell died from head injuries, sustained when her horse bolted after being spooked by another low flying aircraft.

Investigations into Heather’s death have so far shown that the military helicopter was flying above the minimum level of 50ft.

Read more news in this week’s Horse & Hound (10 July), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.

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