We decided to take Amadeus, Swift, Babe and Hillie for a ride from the Redbrook field. We decided to head down The Hidden Valley route because we hadn't been down that way for a while (apparently for good reason!).
We were just walking down the track which is bordered on both sides with (normal height) fences and seemed pretty innocuous. We passed a couple of horses on the right who were very friendly and wanted to be friends with our lot.
Then, we came to the next field on the left and, out of no where, a very aggressive fell pony, who was, unbeknown to us, a stallion) appeared at the fence line!
The stallion, who is apparently aptly named 'Warlord', tried to bight Babe over the top of the fence which, understandably, worried her. We took Swift up next to Babe to reassure her as Swift may be just four but is an extremely dependable little horse!
The stallion lunged at Swift and went straight through the fence and attacked Swift!
He practically landed on her and began to bite her immediately so Swift took off bucking and trying to kick the stallion who has hot on her heels!
The only way to stay on would have been to get Swift's head up which may have slowed her down too much and stopped her escaping so I tried to head out of the side door but failed and fell pretty hard, to add insult to injury, the stallion trampled me which left me pretty battered and unable to get up to follow Swift. I nearly ended up getting flattened by babe who had a couple of fairly sedate bucks which Jun sat to amazingly before everyone dismounted and calmed the other horses down.
Swift carried on galloping flat out but the stallion was right behind her and she couldn't shake him.
I screamed to Lauren that I was fine and to go and save Swift and she took off at a sprint after throwing Amadeus' reins at Jun who did a stellar job soothing Amadeus and Babe whilst talking to me and making sure I was okay.
We were joined by the amazing Marie and Albert who quickly worked out what they could do to help before Albert headed off in the buggy at the same time as the stallions owners to track down the horses while Marie took Babe and Katy took Amadeus along with her own Hillie.
I was sat half up by this point, feeling sick and dizzy because of the knock to my head and the pain in my leg, trying to work out where our baby was, Jun crouched beside me to try to assess where I was hurt while he and Marie kept me talking. I must have been pretty grey because I can remember Marie asking if I was normally that pale and Katy answering that I worked outside all day so was always a good colour.
Albert returned in the buggy having scoured the whole farm with no sign of the horses. He voiced his fears that they may have got down to the main road.
At this point, I was beside myself and tried to get up (not entirely sure what I expected I could do as a peg leg?!) and went all hot and sickly again. Marie suggested calling an ambulance which is the point I finally broke down and sobbed that I wasn't going anywhere until I knew where my horse was! I swear, I'm not really a diva! Marie agreed (I think she may have been a little startled by my outburst) but sent Albert for some fluids and chocolate (the cure for everything) and Jun called Dad. I was secretly slightly concerned about the pain in my leg and the lump sticking out the side, clearly visible through my breeches.
Lauren returned after sprinting a mile in search for our little mare. Lauren was empty handed.
"I can't find her, I don't know where she is."
I tried to wrap my head around the idea that we might not find her in one piece and I saw the same look of devastation mirrored in Lauren's eyes. Loz didn't let that stop her, she mounted Amadeus and was off again.
Albert came back with sugary water and chocolate and I started to feel better in myself but was still in an extreme amount of pain. Katy and Jun now only had Hillie and Babe between them and decided to take them back to the field so that they could be of more help.
Apparently Warlord was back in his field now and Katy and Jun described it as being "like a horror film, wondering when he was going to jump out" but they amazingly managed to get the horses back and sort them out without incident.
The first moment I heard the extra hooves, I pulled myself up by the fence and craned my neck and I saw her. Lauren had her and Amadeus and Swift was on her feet. I couldn't see much more than that but I sagged with relief.
Warlord's owner had found Swift in a brook, trapped and worried. He had been unable to get her out of the whole but had taken her saddle off and stayed with her. When Lauren and Amadeus arrived, Swift visibly relaxed and climbed right out on her own as soon as Lauren took her reins. Warlord obviously felt that he had neutralised the threat and went back to his field with the mares (who he was clearly guarding).
Dad arrived shortly afterwards but had to leave the car at the end of the track. Albert and Dad went to help me into the buggy but I tried to put my foot down (a pretty natural instinct) and my leg gaveway. Dad caught me before I fell but it caused so much pain that I went all grey and shivery again.
When we reached the car, everyone piled coats on me, Katy gave me a hug and everyone wished me well and waved us off while we headed for home and then the hospital.
My leg had been giving me constant throbbing pain for the last hour but I just wanted to see Swift. So when I saw the trailer heading towards home when we were headed out, I begged Dad to take me back.
Lauren brought her to the car door and I could hardly see through my tears. The was covered in scrapes, she literally looked like she'd been through a war. But she was alive and we knew we could fix her. Swift came right up to the door and gave me a cuddle before Lauren sent me on my way.
In hospital, my leg was x-rayed and checked three times by different doctors and nurses but there was no break which the doctors were visibly surprised because of all of the swelling.
In the end, it was a suspected ruptured calf which is where the calf muscle tears partially or completely meaning you can't even bring your toes up, let alone weight bear. There was also a large haemotoma because of the rupture which throbbed day and night for the first few weeks. We spent the following week on our family holiday in the Welsh Mountains with the intention of camping and climbing Snowdon.
I rode Swift again after 5 weeks even though I couldn't walk or put my feet in the stirrups. Swift was amazing
It was 2 months before I could walk again and 3 before I was able to ride a client horse. I still have a lump on my leg 5 months on and regularly have a couple of toes go numb. My leg burns when I go into a light seat and if my stirrups are too short but I can ride so I'm happy.
This, and some scarring is what I'm left
with 5 months later. I'm not entirely sure if the lump will stay but I don't really care about the superficial injuries, so long as I can continue to live my life without it holding me back! Sorry about all the pictures, I took progress pictures and what else would I do other than post them publicly for the world to see?!
Swift has made a full recovery. We usually don't put boots on when hacking but that day, Babe, Swift and Amadeus all had tendon or brushing boots and Swift's had made a massive difference. Her lower fore legs were clean and her hind legs were covered in cuts and swellings. We are very thankful to still have our little horse.
We are also so thankful to Albert, Marie and Katy for being amazing and going above and beyond the call of duty!
Warlord's owners looked after Swift as best they could, they travelled her and Amadeus back, gave Swift anti-biotics and pain killers and looked after the horses while were away.
In this time, Lauren was amazing and picked up all of the slack. It was so hard not being able to ride. It really is who I am and I hated my glimpse of a life without horses!