While competing at Osberton Horse Trials in Nottinghamshire in May 2007, Claire Lomas fell from her horse and collided with a tree sustaining a spinal cord injury. The injury left her without the use of her legs.
Claire was treated at the Spinal Injuries Unit of the Sheffield Northern General Hospital and despite her injuries she improved quickly following rehabilitation. She made good improvements in her core strength however, her lower limb ability continued to be compromised and she is wheelchair bound in order to maintain mobility.
Since her accident, Claire completed the London Marathon in a ReWalk robotic walking aid in 17 days and hand-cycled 400 miles from London to Nottingham. She has applauded the high level of the support that she received from her family and the birth of her daughter Maisie for her rapid recovery.
In April 2015 when her daughter Maisie had a confirmed primary school place, Claire contacted her local council to apply for a disabled parking bay due to the busy roads and lack of parking in her local village. However, following the Council’s agreement and the support of the school for the space, Claire found herself without a parking space over 5 months later.
On several occasions since Claire was not able to park near to the school and so she had no choice but to drop Maisie off further along the road and ask another mother to walk her to school. Claire took action by painting a bay of her own using spray paint and a template that her friend had made. The following day, Leicester County Council attended the site and painted an official parking space and has since apologized to her.
The story highlights the risks involved not only in horse riding, but also raises the awareness of the provision of services for disabled individuals in general.
The British Horse Society considers horse related accidents to be considerably under reported. Recent surveys have shown that 20% of injured riders attending hospital are admitted and approximately 60% of these have head injuries.
The Hospital Episode Statistics Online data concerning external causes of visits to hospital in 2011–12 reported 4,199 episodes requiring treatment in hospital for ‘animal – rider or occupant animal drawn vehicle injured in transport accident’. In addition, there were 183 Road Traffic Incidents reported at www.horseaccidents.org.uk in 2012. These included:
- Two rider fatalities
- 12 severe rider injuries
- 14 horse fatalities
- Three severe horse injuries
Data also highlights that whereas a motor-cyclist can expect a serious incident on average 1 per 7000 hours, a horse-rider can expect a serious accident on average once in every 350 hours – 20 times more likely.
To read the full article, click here.