They say that everything happens for a reason. While many people have to wait for the reason to manifest, it didn't take long for Polly Featherstonhaugh to discover why falling off a horse was a blessing in disguise.
The 30-year-old equine enthusiast has always loved horses. She grew up surrounded by the four-legged animals and started riding at a very young age. In fact, she loves horses so much that in 2014 she opened up her very own rescue centre for the galloping animals.
In 2015, Polly was out on a ride with a rescue, a former racehorse named Yorkie, when things took a scary turn. The thoroughbred was startled by something in its surroundings and as a response accidentally knocked the young woman off its back after her feet came out of the stirrups.
"I clung on for dear life," Polly told The Mirror. "You’re taught to take your other foot out of the stirrup too, otherwise you can be dragged under the animal, but there wasn’t time before Yorkie flipped me off and I landed with a heavy thud on my back. As I lay on the ground, I knew instantly there was a problem."
Unfortunately, Polly was subjected to an excruciating 45-minute wait for an ambulance and during that time she had no idea what the extent of her injuries were.
"I was relieved that I could wiggle my toes, but even breathing hurt at the time, and the pain was coming in severe waves. I was just screaming," recalled Polly. "I couldn’t move and I can’t remember a lot, as I was given gas and air as well as morphine. I don’t know how long it all took, but it felt quick after the ambulance arrived," she added.
After some tests and scans at the Pembury Hospital, results showed that Polly had suffered a cracked vertebrae, a concertinaed spine and a broken thumb.
Doctors also spotted another issue with the scans and gave Polly an unexpected diagnosis that changed her life.
Continue onto the next page to find out what else went wrong with Polly.