A TEENAGER has praised flying doctors for coming to her aid after a horse accident left her in agony on a remote part of a beach.
Sophie Wall, an event rider, spent nearly 45 minutes in agony on the sand dunes at Seaton Carew after her horse tumbled and fell on top of her.
Fortunately the schoolgirl managed to avoid serious injury.
She expressed her “huge thanks” to the “amazing” Great North Air Ambulance staff who rushed to her aid.
The 14-year-old is now back at her Hartlepool home recovering from the fall and insists the accident won’t deter her from getting back in the saddle.
Sophie is a top-class three-day event rider – competing in show jumping, dressage and cross country – but as it’s the end of the season she decided to go out for a leisurely ride with her mum, Helen Wall, and two of her friends last Sunday.
But their enjoyable afternoon across the dunes at Seaton Carew turned into a disaster when the sand collapsed, causing Sophie’s horse Primitive Pronto to fall to its knees.
She got off and tried to help the horse back up, but as she did so Primitive Pronto fell on top of her knee, leaving panic-stricken Sophie unable to stand.
The paramedics arrived on the scene, directed by mum Helen, but couldn’t get across to help injured Sophie and she couldn’t move from the sand dunes near to the Blue Lagoon.
The Air Ambulance was immediately called and Sophie was helped aboard before being airlifted to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.
Despite the initial concerns of her family and friends, Sophie didn’t suffer any broken bones.
The teenager is due back at hospital on Monday for a check-up but medics believe she suffered ligament damage.
“I suppose I’m quite lucky,” said a relieved Sophie, a student at Red House School, in Norton.
“I did think it was worse at first because I tried to stand up but I just collapsed again.
“I just wanted to say how grateful I was to the Great North Air Ambulance and the paramedics, they were so helpful.”
Those thanks were echoed by mum Helen.
Helen, 42, a dentist, who lives in Manor Road with husband Clive, said: “It was just such a freak accident.
“Sophie is used to jumping huge jumps with no fear at all – she’s an outstanding rider.
“With it being a lovely afternoon we thought we would go out for a nice leisurely ride across the dunes, and then that happened.
“Luckily her injuries aren’t too serious but I honestly don’t know what we would have done if it wasn’t for the Air Ambulance.
“It’s remarkable to think it’s a charity and relies on donations.
“They were absolutely amazing, fantastic.”