It was a bright December (2018) day, though still warm - a perfect day for learning. But equestrian, Sammy Keveren, had no idea of what was in store.

Sammy was at Budleigh Salterton Riding School taking a jumping lesson to support her ambition of becoming a riding instructor. 

The lesson had been going really well and in the last 10 minutes we completed one final jump. For a moment I lost my focus; Ellie went to the left, I lost my stirrup and came off to the right.

Sammy does not remember the landing from the fall, but only her instructor, Claire, asking if she was alright. 

I could not move my legs, but I was concerned about Ellie and that my falling off had caused Claire to be late for her next lesson. 

Because Sammy couldn't move Claire considered it best to call for an ambulance, the memory of which is a bit of a blur to Sammy.

I remember there was a paramedic with what I thought was an Australian accent asking me what hurt. The next thing I remember was him saying, 'Don’t worry: she will shout, but she will not feel a thing'...

Sammy remembers being carried on a stretcher and feeling as though she was being carried upside down. The ketamine had taken effect when she heard that the paramedics were taking her to Plymouth.

I contested saying 'why are you taking me there as I don’t live there anymore - I live in Exeter!'. The next thing I remember is talking to a doctor in hospital and being taken for a scan.

Sammy was fortunate; apart from dislocating her thumb, which required an operation to insert a wire to pull the bones back together, she escaped with just cuts and bruises - 'and a bruised ego', she says.

I want to thank the Air Ambulance Crew for taking care of me. This has been the second time they've attended me as over 25 years ago I was riding on Dartmoor and the horse I was riding refused to jump and I fell off. I had managed to get myself back on the horse and back to Princetown, but soon I found I was becoming paralysed from the neck down. The Air Ambulance took me to Plymouth then too, and after 5 days I was back in the saddle.

Sammy is fortunate to have escaped both horse-riding incidents with only minor injuries on both occasions. Devon Air Ambulance was able to attend her at two remote locations to deliver the required critical care.

Due to patient confidentiality, we don't actually know who we airlift unless a patient decides to contact us to share their story. Have you been airlifted by us? Our Patient Liaison Officer, Debbie is available to discuss your experience and offer support as well as to invite you to an airbase visit should you wish to.

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