Girl, 14, in hospital following “freak” horse riding accident near Dereham

A teenage girl who suffered serious head injuries when her horse collapsed and died remains in hospital.

The 14-year-old was hurt when the horse suffered a heart attack and fell sideways without warning at Blackwater Farm equestrian centre, in Great Witchingham near Dereham.

She had no time to dismount and her foot was trapped beneath the ten-year-old when it hit the ground, it emerged today (Thursday).

The girl, an experienced rider, was flown by air ambulance to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge at about 3.15pm yesterday after receiving treatment at the scene.

Centre owner David Sayer described it as a 'freak accident' and praised the work of the emergency services which arrived in less than ten minutes.


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The teenager was being assessed for a place on the North Norfolk Pony Club team ahead of a competition this weekend and had been show jumping when the horse collapsed.

'It was so sudden, the horse just dropped like a stone,' Mr Sayer said. 'She had no chance to get off, the horse just went. I don't think it was linked to the heat because the horse had hardly done anything. It was an absolute freak accident, but the response was brilliant.'

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The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust dispatched a rapid response vehicle, an ambulance, an officer and a doctor and scrambled the East Anglian Air Ambulance and Magpas - the emergency medical charity.

'Because of those two charities, a 14-year-old child will have a tomorrow when she may not have done,' Mr Sayer added. 'We must not take them for granted.'

The girl had been wearing safety equipment including a helmet and body protectors at the time of the accident.

The police are not seeking witnesses.

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