A rider who is currently unable to walk after falling off when a driver sped past her over a cattle grid has said motorists need to consider “what the rush is for” and if their actions “are worth it”.
Abbie Nash was hospitalised for 10 days “in agony” after the fall while hacking on Northam Burrows, North Devon.
She was leaning forwards to open a gate alongside the cattle grid when a car sped over the grid feet away, startling her Irish sports horse Dude.
“He was a star really, it wasn’t his fault, he only took about four steps back in surprise,” Abbie told H&H. “As I was already leaning out of the saddle I had no chance of staying on and I fell onto the base of my spine and smacked my head pretty hard.”
Dude, 10, whom Abbie has owned since a three-year-old, stayed by her side while the driver sped away from the scene, leaving her lying on the ground.
“I don’t really remember much at that point, so I haven’t been able to recall the colour or make of the car,” she said. “I remember watching it drive away for a split second before everything went blurry. If drivers come past while I am opening the gate, they usually slow right down or stop until we’re through.”
Abbie was down for around 10 minutes before managing to walk Dude back to the yard.
“I could still use my legs immediately afterwards, so I got Dude back and my friend untacked him. At that point they called an ambulance as I was really limping and going dizzy, and feeling sick from the pain in my back,” she said.
Paramedics initially thought she had broken her spine and put her on a spinal board. Once in hospital, she was diagnosed with inflamed discs and muscle damage, with the swelling causing pressure on the nerve to her legs. Abbie is currently unable to feel or move her left leg and is having to use a wheelchair.
“All the hospital have been able do for me is get the right mixture of painkillers and anti-inflammatories to manage my pain,” she said. “They’ve said it could take from weeks to months before I’m able to feel and use my leg again. In the meantime I’m having physio to try and teach me how to use my left leg without being able to feel it but how long that will take nobody really knows.”
She added that the fall had left her unable to care for her horse or “do anything for myself”.
“I haven’t seen Dude since the accident and I miss him terribly, but I have some amazing friends who are looking after him,” said Abbie, who usually enjoys competing the 15.1hh gelding cross-country, as well as doing “a bit of everything”.
“I might be hurt but thankfully he was completely uninjured, which is the most important thing to me.”
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Abbie said that she had spoken out about the accident as she wanted the driver to be aware of the effect the “silly mistake” had on her life.
“It’s impacted me in a massive way and I’d like to know what was the huge rush was for? Was it worth it?” she said. “I’d also like to ask them what their reason was for leaving me.
“I really hope they can they be more careful around horses in the future and think their actions through. In a crazy way I came off lucky because that accident could have killed me or given me no chance of walking again.”
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