An event held in honour of rider who suffered a serious spinal injury in a fall has raised more than £17,000 for the charities that helped her recover.
Amateur jockey and event rider Laura Scott was seriously injured in March when a youngster she was riding in the school spooked and bucked, throwing her against a wooden fence.
The fall broke Laura’s C5 and C6 vertebrae, damaging her spinal cord, and also crushed her spine in her lower back.
Laura remained lying on her back for several weeks at the Southern Spinal Unit at Salisbury Hospital while physiotherapists worked on her injuries.
“I knew straight away that it was a bad fall as I couldn’t feel anything, apart from my head,” said Laura.
“At the time they didn’t know how much movement I’d get back and we had to take it day by day.
“It was a really horrible time for my family and probably much worse for them.
“I always thought I’d be okay, and that’s what kept me going. Mum said to me from day one that I had to stay positive and that reallly helped me.”
During her stay at Salisbury Hospital, Horatio’s Garden (a charity therapy garden within the hospital grounds) provided a welcome retreat from the hospital wards with charity volunteers giving “invaluable support” to Laura’s family at the same time.
The Injured Jockeys’ Fund has also given Laura help and advice with almoner (support worker) Julia Mangan supporting her from the start.
Laura said the charities had been “wonderful” to her.
“The support and help they’ve given me and my family has been incredible and also so many friends helped during a very tough time, keeping everything going while Mum and Dad spent much of their time with me in hospital,” she said.
“I don’t think words could ever convey how grateful we are to so many people.”
A fundraising dinner was held for the charities, and the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust, on 21 October.
The evening, organised by Laura’s friends Johnson White, Michael Scott and Fran A’Brooke,raised more than £17,000.
Stars from the racing world spoke at the event, at Raleghs Cross on Exmoor, including AP McCoy, Luke Harvey and Alice Plunkett.
“AP is my absolute idol and I never thought he’d attend,” said Laura.
“It was a fantastic evening and I really can’t thank everyone enough, from those who gave prizes for the auction to the people who bid for them.”
Three and a half months after the accident Laura was able to return to the family home on Exmoor.
An intense three weeks of physiotherapy at the Injured Jockeys’ Fund’s Oaksey House followed so Laura could learn to walk again, and to help her regain the range of movement in her arms and shoulders.
“They needed to be really particular about how I did everything to make sure I built up in the right way, rather than get into bad habits,” said Laura who will receive ongoing fortnightly sessions at Hobbs in Shepton Mallett, for neurological rehabilitation.
“My left hand still isn’t brilliant, and the range in my shoulders isn’t good. I also don’t have proper sensation anywhere. But nerves take a long time to properly heal and it will take time.”
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Despite her physical limitations, Laura has found a new love for dressage and won an unaffilliated dressage competition six months after her accident on former point-to-pointer Winged Action.
“I was so lucky to be able to walk out of the hospital, unlike so many people there, and it does put everything in perspective,” she added.
“I think now if I am having a bad day, I take a step back, think about it and am grateful that I am still able to ride and work. I’m determined to take dressage as far as I can and have already had some lessons with Pammy Hutton.”