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9 June 2022

‘I was splattered on the floor with broken bones’: rider gets back on board after horror fall while mounting

‘I was splattered on the floor with broken bones’: rider gets back on board after horror fall while mounting

Just a few weeks into owning her new pony Joey, disaster struck for Jane Outterson when the Dales cross spooked and shot forward while she was mounting. She suffered a broken pelvis, three broken ribs and a smashed knee cap.

“Joey could be really difficult to mount so I said to my husband as I left the house that morning, ‘I’ll not be long, I’m just going to do some mounting block work today,” recalls Jane. “Well, 45 minutes later I was splattered on the floor of the arena.

“As I put my foot in the stirrup, Joey stepped away, but I was already committed so I scrambled on which made him panic and I went straight off the other side. I thought I was fine, but I was taken to hospital and the whole way there I complained about my finger hurting — little did I know the extent of my injuries.”

An ex-traveller pony, Joey was bought as a project in 2020 when Jane decided to get back into riding after a break.

“I’ve ridden most of my life and my family have horses, but he turned out to be more of a project than I expected. I would love to say we were doing something spectacular like jumping a six-foot fence when I was injured, but I was just trying to get on him,” adds Jane.

‘My heart was in my mouth’

It was six months before Jane, a retired HR Consultant from County Durham, was able to ride again.

“I had a bed made up downstairs in the living room at home and had a commode as I had unstable fractures, which means my kneecap had effectively shattered like an eggshell,” says Jane.

“My leg cast came off at the end of February and then I had weeks of rehab before being able to walk short distances. I started riding again in May.”

After such a big fall, Jane was understandably nervous when she started riding again but hacking helped rebuild her confidence and partnership with Joey.

“That first time I got back on Joey my heart was in my mouth,” she admits. “I rode to the end of the yard and turned around. Even now I get on him and question what I’m doing, but once I’m out, I love hacking and completely lose track of time.

“I’m not into jumping big fences or dressage, but hacking for me is an opportunity to get out in the fresh air, chat to strangers and clear my head.”

‘I don’t bounce anymore’

Overcoming her nerves didn’t happen overnight and Jane adds that it is an ongoing journey.

“I learned the hard way that I don’t bounce anymore, but my accident hasn’t put me off. My advice to anyone struggling with confidence is to put your brave pants on and do as much as you can,” she says.

“If all you can do is tack up, that’s a positive because it’s more than you did before. Take little steps and don’t overthink it. If you get on and only make it to the end of the road, that’s further than you got yesterday.”

Jane’s recovery wasn’t without its setbacks, and she considered selling Joey in June last year.

“It was a real low point for me and he was on the transfer list,” says Jane.

“I couldn’t get him off the yard, whether that was in company or alone, but we’ve worked through that. He is a naughty pony and I expect he will always be that way, but we’ve been through a lot together, so I have to persevere.”

Natalie Clark

by Natalie Clark

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