A WOMAN has spoken of the terrifying ordeal of suffering a stroke after she was trampled on by her horse.
Melanie Rogers’ horse Bonnie had been spooked by the prospect of walking through a river and threw the 57-year-old to the ground.
In her haste to get away, Bonnie stood straight on Mrs Rogers’ neck, damaging a carotid artery and setting in motion a sequence of events which could have killed the Darlington woman.
This week, Mrs Rogers visited Durham Tees Valley Airport, the base of the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), which flew to her aid in the aftermath of the incident, in July last year.
She was joined on the visit by her daughters Anouska Rogers-Smith and Kasha Rogers-Smith. They met the crew of the charity’s helicopter and were shown around the facility.
Anouska was present when the incident happened near Tudhoe, County Durham. The 26-year-old veterinary nurse said: “It was horrendous. We didn’t realise at first just how serious it was, but when the helicopter arrived and the doctor and paramedic rushed over, I thought it must be bad.”
Mrs Rogers said: “I remember going down the bank, I remember coming off and I remember Bonnie standing on me. I was trying to stand up, saying I was going to be alright in a minute, then I can’t remember much at all.”
Mrs Rogers may not have been showing outward signs of serious injury, but inside her condition was perilous. She had sustained what is known as a dissected carotid artery. More common in road traffic collisions, the condition can lead to stroke, as it did in the case of Mrs Rogers.
She quickly became confused, she lost control of her body and her speech became slurred.
“She kept saying she was 28-years-old,” said Anousaka. “The doctor suddenly said she was deteriorating and all of a sudden they were off.”
The air ambulance flew Mrs Rogers to James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough. The flight took just seven minutes. After emergency treatment in the hospital, and two days on the high-dependency ward, Mrs Rogers was gradually able to piece her life back together.
She has rebuilt her physical strength, her speech, and even her relationship with Bonnie.
“She’s a bit of a character but I love her,” she said.
Anouska paid tribute to the GNAAS team. “They were amazing,” she said. “Calm and reassuring, they just dealt with everything so professionally.
“They saved our mum’s life and we are eternally grateful.”
Kasha will run this year’s Great North Run to raise money for GNAAS, which must raise around £5m every year to keep flying.
GNAAS is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary of becoming an independent registered charity. To find out how you can help, visit www.gnaas.com