Back in the saddle - Polegate rider who broke her spine

Christine Patrick and 'Mouse'
Christine Patrick and 'Mouse'

A keen rider from Polegate is back on her horse after a nasty fall left her with a broken back.

Christine Patrick, 57, found herself lying on concrete after her trusted horse reared, tossing her into the air and onto her back.

In agony, she was taken to Eastbourne District General Hospital for a variety of tests, before being transferred to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings, where an MRI scan concluded she had several fractures to her spine. She had to wear a back brace to keep her spine in place until the fractures healed.

Fortunately her back healed and the brace was removed but, for months afterwards, Christine found her shoulder was terribly painful and she had restricted movement. Her GP referred her to Sussex MSK Partnership East, the local service for muscle, bone and joint conditions.

Christine said, “I had a half-hour appointment with Matt Daly, Extended Scope Practitioner, who was extremely helpful. I felt reassured that I was getting the best advice and treatment for my pain. He thought the problem was tightened muscles caused by my fall and referred me to a physiotherapy colleague to work on resolving the issue.

“The physiotherapy helped without a doubt. Thanks to the exercises I was given, my full range of movement slowly returned and the pain began to go away. I was told not to ride for at least four months and to regularly practice the recommended exercises at home.”

Christine is back in the saddle after her fall. Unfortunately she lost her own beloved horse, Otto, who was ironically found to have a spinal problem himself as a result of his racing career. Christine believes it was the pain from his “Kissing Spine” condition which prompted him to act completely out of character the day of the accident.

She is now riding 13-year-old ‘Mouse’, enjoying competing in Riding Club level show jumping, dressage and cross-country.

“If you ride, you’re going to fall off,” she said. “I have had a few falls in my time but this one is by far the worst. I am very lucky but nothing would stop me getting back on a horse.

“The team at Sussex MSK Partnership East have played a vital part in my recovery. The specialist team reassured me throughout my treatment and I had full confidence in their abilities.”

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