A rider who broke her neck in a fall has urged others to always wear safety helmets as she believes she wouldn’t be here if she hadn’t been wearing one.
Jasmine Evans, 17, who works at a racing yard in Newmarket, was exercising one of the racehorses when she had an accident on the Heath gallops on 20 February.
Jasmine told H&H: “I normally ride four horses in the morning, and four more horses in the evening. I’ve wanted to do this job since I was a little when my great-granddad would take me to the Heath.
“That morning I was riding out with another worker and coming round a bend the horse tucked up and the saddle slipped. I fell, landed on my head, and my neck and back took the impact. As soon as I fell I heard a crack and knew straight away I had done something to my neck. I had cuts and grazes all over my face and crawled to the side so I wasn’t trampled by other horses.”
An onsite medic attended Jasmine and an ambulance was called.
“I was in excruciating pain and given gas and air,” said Jasmine. “The medics made lie still on the floor and a man held my head so I couldn’t move my neck.
“I was taken to hospital for a CT scan, X-ray and given morphine but it didn’t touch the pain. I had broken my C2 vertebrae, which is next to my skull.”
Jasmine, who didn’t require surgery at the time, was released from hospital a week later.
“I’ve had to wear a neck collar and rest. My boyfriend is a farrier so I’ve being going out in his van so I can still be around horses,” said Jasmine.
“I need to go back to hospital at the end of the month to find out if the neck collar can come off or if I will need surgery to pin the bone. I’m really nervous because it doesn’t feel like it’s getting better – everything is still so sore and I can’t do certain movements and need help getting up. It doesn’t feel like I’m getting stronger.”
Jasmine has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder since the accident.
“I have nightmares and when I close my eyes I see the accident happening, that’s the most terrifying bit. I said no to counselling at first but I’ve asked for some and will be going to see someone,” said Jasmine.
“I’m scared about the future – I don’t think I’ll go back to riding racehorses again. I always saw my future as riding racehorses and now that’s all gone out the window.”
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
Jasmine wants to raise awareness about the importance of wearing hats.
“I‘ve never sat on a horse without a hat on in my life because I know the dangers. I saw a post on Facebook of a young person riding on a road without a hat and I commented and said anything can happen – I’m not trying to be horrible but I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. I want to look out for the safety of others but some people don’t see it that way,” said Jasmine.
“If I didn’t have a hat on it would have been a whole different situation, I wouldn’t be here. I put a post on Facebook telling people about my story and what happened when I was wearing a hat, and what could have happened if I hadn’t been. I’ve had a lot of support messages wishing me well and agreeing so that makes it worthwhile.”
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