Saturday, 18 September 2021

Girl, 12, back in the saddle two years after serious fall

A GIRL who snapped a thigh bone when falling off her pony has won a showing competition

A GIRL who snapped a thigh bone when falling off her pony has won a showing competition almost two years later.

Mollie Rodgers, 12, was unseated by Alfie when riding in woods near Ibstone in July 2014.

The pony was spooked by mountain bikers and ran down a steep hill, causing Mollie to fall off.

She broke the femur in her left leg and was on crutches for seven months.

Mollie not only recovered from the injury but then bravely decided to continue riding with an on-loan pony called Monkey.

Now she has won two first places in the showing category at competitions in Caddington and Knaphill. They were the first competitions that she has taken part in since her accident.

Showing is where the animals are walked, trotted and cantered before riders perform an individual routine for the judges.

Mollie’s mother Sarah, who runs the Pheasants Hill Stables, near Hambleden, where Monkey is looked after, said: “It’s really nice for her to go out and win when she has put in all this effort. It makes it all worthwhile.

“She could have given it up when she was lying there on the ground and said she hated Alfie and didn’t want to ride him again.

“I was dead proud of her when she won. I’m thrilled for her.”

Mollie lives with her mother and father Richard, a mechanic, and brothers, Theo, six, and Harry, 14, in Stadhampton and goes to Icknield Community College in  Watlington.

She remembers her accident, which happened as she was on a hack from Southend Stables, where Alfie used to be kept.

She said: “I went out as normal and I was with the lady who ran the yard. We always went out.

“I was near the bottom of a hill in the woods. We went up the hill and it was quite high and we could hear some cyclists talking so we tried to tell them to stop but I don’t think they heard us.

“That spooked the pony. I started panicking and the horse started galloping down the hill. Then he went round a sharp corner and I lost one of my stirrups.

“I managed to stay in one for a few more seconds then I lost my other one and fell off.”

Mollie was found by her riding companion who called for an ambulance while Alfie made his own way back to the stables.

Mrs Rodgers, 45, said: “I got a call saying Mollie had had an accident. They thought she was hurt and they had called an ambulance. I had gone home from the stables, which I don’t normally do, so I hopped in the car with my husband and Theo.

“Within 10 minutes of us finding them the paramedics turned up and were absolutely brilliant.”

The paramedics put Mollie on a stretcher and carried her up the hill to their ambulance.

She was then taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where she had an operation to put pins in her knee and was kept in for about a week. Mollie recalled: “They didn’t put my leg in a cast, probably because the break was quite high up so they would have had to cast the whole leg.

“Once I had the operation it was in a splint, which was really uncomfortable.”

Mollie had to use crutches for the next seven months while her leg healed and was banned from doing any exercise, which she hated as she is naturally very active.

She said: “I love PE and everything like that but I had to sit and watch. I missed playing football with Harry and I was missing out on things that we would do occasionally, like climbing. I missed it quite a lot.

“It took about nine months for a full recovery and then I could start doing stuff again. I would go up to the yard but it was hard with the crutches and sometimes I would be in a wheelchair.”

The pins were removed from Mollie’s knee in January 2015.

Mrs Rodgers, 45, said: “If she was an adult they would have left them but because she is growing they took them out.

“I think it’s because the knee takes all the pressure and it had been damaged by the break.

“The accident means Mollie’s left leg is probably twice as strong as her right.” Mollie first got back in the saddle in April last year, when she rode her first pony Bobby to start getting her confidence back.

“I probably started a few weeks earlier then I should have but it was because I missed it so much,” she said. “I was worried about it but excited at the same time.”

Soon afterwards, she started going with her mother to the stables to help out in order to rebuild her confidence.

Then earlier this year, Mrs Rodgers was contacted by a friend, who wanted to loan her pony Monkey because she was pregnant.

She said: “She didn’t want him having a season inside and wanted to know if we wanted to have Monkey for a year to help Mollie get back into it.”

Monkey arrived in April and, according to Mrs Rodgers, has been a “godsend” for her daughter. “He gave the confidence to do the competitions,” she said. “She can still get nervous, especially if she sees a cyclist, but she’s two years older now.”

Mollie said: “It’s easier to get to know a horse when they’re really loving like Monkey is. It really didn’t take that long.”

Thanks to winning the competitions she has qualified to take part in Equifest in Peterborough, a five-day equestrian show which attracts more than 10,000 visitors.

Mollie said: “I’m really excited about the competition and I’m looking forward to taking part.

“Most of the competitions I take part in I have done before but this is a big one for me. I’ve never been so it’s exciting.”

In the meantime, she has also started riding Alfie again. She has had the pony for three years.

“I’ve been out with him on the roads and really enjoyed it,” she said.

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