Five-year-old Olivia ready to saddle up after horse riding accident

West Moor youngster gets bravery certificate after freak injury

It may not have been the Grand National, but when five year old Olivia Bingham had a horse land on her during a riding lesson - mum Helen feared the worst.

Horse fall girl - alternative

The freak accident happened on a farm at West Moor, Newcastle, last month, where Olivia first rode a horse when she was three. Olivia suffered a partially collapsed lung, but after recovering is now determined to return to the saddle.

Mum Helen said: "On the day of the accident Olivia was having her usual riding lesson on a horse she had ridden lots of times before. It was near the end of her lesson and the horse reared and fell backwards on top of her. I grabbed hold of Olivia, but the horse hit me as it fell back and knocked her out of my grasp. The next thing I knew Olivia was under the horse.

"I jumped up and ran over to her and she was gasping and not breathing properly. I really thought I was going to lose her when I saw her lying in the dirt. Her instructor shouted for the girls in the barn to ring for an ambulance and I opened her body protector and her eyes opened. She cried and gurgled a little and we undid her riding helmet.

"We were in shock, but the ladies at the riding school were brilliant. As I went to pieces and cried, they held her head and neck still until the ambulance arrived. 

"I don't blame them in any way because it's a fantastic riding school. It was just a freak accident.

When the NEAS crew arrived they drove right into the horse riding arena and cut Olivia's coat off and put a cannula in her arm.

Helen said: "The only time she really cried was when she thought she was getting a needle in her arm. Jason Orchard, the paramedic, gave her some morphine as she couldn't straighten her legs and we thought she may have back or pelvic injuries. He put a neck collar on Olivia and we all helped log roll her onto the spinal board. Olivia was very quiet and brave and just did what she was told to do."

Olivia was then taken to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary, where she had a scan of her head, chest and abdomen. The results showed she had suffered a small pneumothorax - or partially collapsed lung.

Helen said: "The staff in A & E and on the ward were brilliant and looked after me as well as Olivia.  Jason and his colleague, Emergency Care assistant Mark Henderson came back a few times over the afternoon with other patients and kept popping in to visit Olivia and see how she was.  They deserve medals for their work as they were outstanding.  I can't thank them enough for their help and expertise on that day." 

Olivia was back at school 10 days later and has now recovered fully, and is aiming to start riding again in May.

Helen said: "She has taken the whole thing in her stride and can't understand the fuss we've made about the whole thing. The body protector and new riding helmet did their job very well, and it proves the importance of wearing the right protection.

"Olivia loved getting her Bravery Award from the ambulance service, and it was so lovely to see Jason and Mark again to say thank you in person.  Olivia and I had taken muffins to the ambulance station for the staff and Jason was off duty but we spoke to Mark and gave him the muffins.

"Sadly there were none left for Jason when he arrived as they had been eaten. Next time we'll put Jason's name on them! "

Jason said: "Olivia was very brave indeed, and certainly deserves her certificate. It must have been very frightening at the time for her and her mum.

"It was a pleasure to meet them again and it's great that it hasn't put them off riding."


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