Competitors at last Saturday’s British Show Pony Society (BSPS) Area 6 show in Solihull have spoken of their anger that first-aiders took too long to attend pony producer Samantha Roberts when she broke her leg.
A Welsh section C, ridden by last week’s H&H cover star Sam, slipped and fell in the rainy conditions, crushing her leg.
Gill Kapadia, H&H reporter at the show, said: “She lay on the ground for 20 minutes while officials repeatedly tannoyed for first aid.”
Though a paramedic was eventually summoned by a 999 call, Sam spent more than an hour lying on the ground in the pouring rain before an ambulance arrived.
BSPS area chairman Mary Allison said: “The response time was not good and I admit that. But the first-aid service, Keith Sharmen First Aid, we’d booked hadn’t turned up.
“The only way we could go ahead with the show was to have cover from a nurse whose child was competing.”
But Mrs Allison said the nurse was walking someone else’s dog at the time of the accident.
Sam was eventually taken to Warwick hospital and underwent surgery on Sunday for a broken tibia and fibula, which had been crushed in seven places by the fall.
Sam’s mother, Suzi Roberts, told H&H her daughter is unlikely to be discharged from hospital until the end of this week.
“No end of people said to me afterwards that they were shocked at how long it took,” she said.
Competitors had paid £2 each with their entry for first-aid cover — including those who had entered on the day of the show.
One top show pony producer told H&H: “It’s absolutely disgusting — we pay our money for first aid and it took too long to arrive.”
Sam Darlington fell off earlier in the day when her pony slipped in the collecting ring.
“A few ponies went down — the weather had made the conditions appalling. I was lucky to have been thrown clear,” she said. “We all paid for first aid and expected that service to be provided.”
But producer Debbie Thomas, who was watching the class and ran to help Sam, remained philosophical.
“These things happen and it was a suspected broken leg — an emergency would have been chest pains,” she said. “It always seems to take forever when an accident happens, but organisers did all they could to keep her comfortable.”
Mrs Allison said the money raised for first aid would be donated to the local air ambulance.
This article was first published in Horse & Hound (3 June, ’10)