A SHOWJUMPER who smashed her skull in 25 places and broke her neck in a fall is back in the saddle.
Alison Lines is lucky to be alive after being catapulted through the air when the horse she was on came to a sudden stop during a riding contest in Rowallan, Scotland, in February 2009.
Miraciously Alison, from West Boldon, managed to walk out the arena. It was only when she visited the nearby Crosshouse hospital in Ayreshire, the full scale of her injuries was revealed.
The mum-of-one had fractured her skull in 25 places on one side and broke bones in her neck and spine leaving her in hospital for a week.
She was housebound for six months while her broken bones healed.
Now, almost three years after the accident, the 40-year-old is back in the saddle and taking part in competitions.
Alison, who started showjumping when she was 10, said: “We had just cleared a fence when the horse, I was riding for a friend, suffered a breathing collapse and he stopped dead. I went straight over the horse’s head.
“I landed head first and actually got up and walked out of the arena. It wasn’t until I got to the hospital and the nurses started fussing that I realised how badly I’d been injured.
“They told me because I’m so light and my ligaments in my neck are strong the injury wasn’t a lot worse.
“They said if anything had moved by a couple of millimetres I would have ended up paralysed or even dead.”
Alison spent six months recuperating before she was told she could gradually remove the neck brace that had been supporting her.
The news gave her the boost she needed to get back into the saddle.
Six months later she was back riding.
Recently, she has gone on to qualify with horse Arctic Fox, owned by friend Karen Ramshaw, for a place in the Horse of the Year show this summer in Birmingham.
The pair are being sponsored by the NISA store and Boldon Bites in West Boldon. The companies are helping to fund travel costs.
Still suffering with pains her neck, Alison added: “It was quite scary getting back on a horse for the first time.But the horses I used, Lola and Can Can, to build up my confidence, I have had for 15 years and they are so trustworthy. They have made it so easy for me to get back into riding and showjumping. Karen’s horse Arctic Fox is also fantastic to ride and I have even ridden the horse I was on when the accident happened, but I don’t jump him at the level I was.
“When I first started jumping again after the accident my family were really worried. But it’s almost three years now since the accident and I think people are now starting to accept what I’m doing.”