“It was no surprise that I was out horse riding – the day I saved someone’s life” explains Rachel Higgins who was 13 at the time.”My horse Lleurer and I came to a stand-still because of a horrible sight. We were cantering when I noticed a boot on the ground.”
We slowed down and realised that the boot belonged to an injured woman. My heart was racing a million miles an hour, I was scared and shaking. Her horse had run off and I was desperately trying to keep Lleurer under control. I asked the woman if she was okay, but she was unconscious and barely breathing. She was alive, but only just. Her body was horribly still, she didn’t reply. Blood was dripping from her ear and nose.
I started feeling really sick but knew I had to try and help her because I was the only one around. Luckily, I had my mobile phone so I called for an ambulance. We were in a National Park and the signal was pretty bad. As I nearly finished telling the operator everything, it dropped out. So, I called again and repeated all the details.
While I was waiting two adult men on mountain bikes stopped to help. They wanted to remove her helmet, to make her more comfortable. It was scary being 13 and telling adults what to do. I knew I had to stand firm and do it though.
I’d learnt from Pony Club and my parents to leave the helmet on. To look for the rise and fall of their chest to tell if they’re breathing and ideally – don’t move them.
My job was to help keep this woman safe until the ambulance arrived. So, I told the men “if she has head injuries, we need to leave the helmet on or she could die.”
When the ambulance finally drove away, I felt stunned and amazed. I was scared for the woman and panicked that I might not have done the right things. I hoped she’d live to ride again.
“Hello, I’m JacquelineThompson. It was me that was so lucky Rachel was out riding that day. She saved my life.”
After waking from the coma I spent two years re-learning basics, things you take for granted. Like walking and talking! It was a pretty scary time not knowing how much of my injured brain would stay damaged, and how much would recover.
Thankfully I’m a modern medicine miracle. Whilst I have a brain injury in the ‘severe’ range, I’m alive and well.
Little did Rachel know in her calling for an ambulance that second time, what would unfold. For she helped two people get rushed to hospital that day, not just me!
After dragging me a while my horse got free of me and took off. Soon enough he discovered a property with horses and raced up their driveway, neighing loudly.
On the porch was a retired jockey enjoying some beers in the sunshine. He decided he’d go find the fallen rider! His daughter reminded him the horse looked freaked out and he’d been drinking. Unable to restrain him, she watched helplessly as he rode off on the 17 2hh frightened thoroughbred.
Around this time Rachel’s brother and dad arrived at the National Park gate. Then they heard hooves pounding hard, approaching. To their surprise a wide eyed horse galloped from the bush into the clearing where they were parked.
Even Steven Spielberg couldn’t have scripted it better. My horse got a fright at the car, put on the skids and ejected his rider into an unflattering heap right next to the car door. Splat – unconscious jockey! Wow what a bad day my big handsome gelding was having.
Then the ambulance arrived. Quickly Rachel’s dad tried to explain that this wasn’t the injured person they’d been called for. No worries – the sound of an approaching siren fixed everything. The second ambulance arrived!
Whilst Rachel received a Bravery award and lots of praise, no award will ever be big enough for what she did that day. She will always be my hero.
For the last few years I’ve been working with some really talented (and fun) people to create a unique, dual entertainer. I hope you like the name, it’s called HorsePLAY®. As soon as the shipment of HorsePLAY® arrived, I addressed the very first one to be sent to ……….. Rachel.
For your own box of horse lovers’ fun click here.