Top showing producer breaks neck in schooling accident

  • By Carolyn Henderson

    Show producer and H&H columnist Katie Jerram-Hunnable is recovering from a freak accident which left her with a “hangman’s break” to the C2 vertebra in her neck.

    Katie was schooling a young horse over poles on the ground when he tripped and somersaulted.

    “The top of my head hit his knee and snapped back,” said Katie, who was wearing a PAS 015 standard safety helmet at the time.

    “I knew something was wrong, but I landed more or less in the recovery position and stayed there until the ambulance came. I have to have an MRI scan every month and an X-ray every two weeks, so I’m waiting for a second scan in February to see what progress I’ve made and what the prognosis is.

    “I’ve been able to chat to Nick Skelton, who suffered a similar injury in 2000. He fractured the C1 vertebra, but our scans were incredibly similar. Talking to Nick helped a lot, as he was very encouraging — and as he on to win Olympic gold medals, I’m determined to be positive.”

    Katie has a full team of horses for owners this season, including some for Her Majesty the Queen, and says her Essex-based yard will be running as normal.

    Her husband, former British eventing team member Chris Hunnable, will be in overall charge. He will be helped by head girl Jo Jack, who was due to set up her own business but is staying to support Katie this season, and both will ride at home and in the ring while Katie is out of action.

    “I will be riding as soon as I can, but have to take a supervisory role until I’m given the go-ahead,” said Katie. “I’ve got a great team and all my owners have been incredibly supportive.”

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