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12th Jul 2021

My name is Natalie and I’m a Paramedic with KSS, as well as being a former patient. I was thrown from my horse in 2010 whilst riding in Camber near Rye. It was the early afternoon and I was cantering on my then five-year-old gelding Bonnet, when he caught his front leg in a rabbit hole in a field near home. I was thrown over his head and onto the ground.

I woke up on the floor and couldn’t understand what had happened or where I was. Bonnet hadn’t run off and was stood next to me.

My phone was in my pocket and fortunately I had numbers on speed dial so quickly got hold of my boyfriend who was at my house. I said I’d fallen off and had hit my head but didn’t know where I was.

He told me to stay where I was and that he was coming to get me. I don’t remember making that call. I then rang my sister but didn’t know it was her I was talking to.

My sister had called 999 and my colleagues at Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex were then also called, because of my location and injuries to my head and wrist. I was found on Romney Marsh and taken by car to my parents’ house on the beach at Camber, as it was near and my horse was returned uninjured back to his stable.

The air ambulance landed on the beach, I was examined and diagnosed with concussion and possible wrist fracture. I was flown to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford and discharged later that day but was off work for a month following the accident.

I remember being lucid for a period and wondering why a pilot was in my parents’ living room. The crew were very thorough and caring.

I’ve been riding since the age of four and it was a freak accident which could happen to anyone.

I’d urge fellow horse riders to always carry a mobile phone, tell family and friends where you’re going and replace your helmet if you do ever have a fall. It’s also incredibly important that you always wear a body protector – I was wearing one at the time of my accident, and would’ve been much more seriously hurt without it.

Fortunately, I made a full recovery. I still ride Bonnet regularly and am pleased to say it’s been less eventful since! I also made sure I replaced my riding hat before I rode again.

As a HEMS Paramedic with KSS I have seen so many patients have life-changing injuries from not wearing a helmet cycling, horse riding and kite boarding and would urge people to wear one no matter what level of sport you enjoy.

It costs over £15 million a year to sustain our world-leading, cutting-edge, innovative service. Amazingly 88% is donated and raised from the communities we serve – from people like you. I have seen first-hand the vital difference that KSS makes, both as a patient and as a paramedic, so I know the true impact that your support will have. Thank you.

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