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Irish breeder breaks neck in show accident

A prominent Irish horse breeder and producer has a broken neck and bruising to her spine after being run down by a horse at a show.

Deirdre Bourns, of Ballinasloe, Co Galway, remains in hospital following the injury, which occurred at Cavan Equestrian Centre’s indoor championships.

Mrs Bourns, 57, was knocked down in the practice ring as the four-year-old qualifier took place on 19 September.

Rosemary Rice, who is Showjumping Ireland rep for Leinster, was also hit but escaped with bruises.

“We will not know the full extent of Deirdre’s injuries for two months,” said Mrs Bourns’ husband Richard.

“She was in the practice ring between the two jumps when a horse jumping the oxer ran out and cantered over her,” said Mr Bourns.

He said she was currently paralysed from the diaphragm down and without the use of her hands, but they hoped this would improve.

Mrs Bourns has bred numerous quality jumpers and eventers. In the Pfizer $1million showjumping class at Horse Shows in the Sun (HITS), in New York (9 September) three of the top eight horses were produced by her.

The couple’s son Andrew was on the Irish showjumping team that came joint second with Britain in the Canadian Nations Cup at Spruce Meadows (8 September).

Mr Bourns said the Cavan staff had taken excellent care of his wife as they waited 45 minutes for an ambulance.

Stuart Clarke of Cavan EC told H&H: “We have been going for 29 years and this is the first time something of this sort has happened — it was a freak accident and very unfortunate.

“Our thoughts are very much with Deirdre’s family.”

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (25 October 2012)

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