A rider who was hospitalised for 11 days after a fall is warning other hackers to take care when passing livestock.

Vanessa was riding her nine-year-old coloured cob, Frank, on a country lane when the pair approached a field of cows. Frank noticed the herd but seemed unfazed, but when the cows suddenly rushed towards him, he shot across the road, landing in a dyke.

Vanessa lost both her stirrups, her saddle slipped and her reins were in a tangle. Then Frank caught sight of the cows again and galloped down the road. After holding on for as long as she could, Vanessa fell off, landing on the tarmac at speed.

“I couldn’t get up where I’d broken my arm, and due to the wound on my face, I couldn’t see,” Vanessa told Your Horse. “I wiped the blood away and saw that Frank had stopped and was eating grass, so I knew he wasn’t going anywhere.

“I couldn’t call out as I was winded. I lay in the road and waited and hoped someone would come along soon.”

Vanessa’s arm was broken in several places in the fall

Thankfully, two motorists stopped and came to Vanessa’s aid. One of the drivers knew her yard owner so was able to inform them of the accident. Frank, who was uninjured, was led back to the safety of the yard, while Vanessa waited for an ambulance to arrive. Her husband had also been informed of her fall and had come to the scene to support her.

An ambulance arrived with three paramedics, and Vanessa was given pain management drugs, before being taken to hospital, where she discovered the extent of her injuries. She suffered breaks in her arm from her shoulder to her elbow, broken ribs, a partially collapsed lung, a knee injury and a sprained ankle. The wound to her face also required stitching.

Vanessa’s facial wound

Vanessa is now continuing her recovery at home, and wants to warn others to take care when riding past livestock, even if they are experienced riders like herself, riding usually sensible horses, like Frank.

“I’m an experienced rider and I’ve hacked all my life,” she said. “Frank is a really safe little guy, he’s only 14hh and he’s not really phased by anything. I want to remind riders to keep their wits about them. Perhaps because Frank is usually so safe I’d become a bit complacent.”

Vanessa was wearing a hat at the time of the fall and hi-vis, but says she is now looking into also wearing a back protector when she returns to the saddle.

Frank was not hurt in the incident

To read our advice for hacking past livestock while hacking, click here, plus discover some golden rules to help keep you safe when around cattle and other animals on horseback, here.

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