Over the August Bank Holiday weekend last year, Catherine (Cav) Hines was making the most of the sunshine on a ride with her horse Max. She was on The Kelseys near Holywell Bay, while her husband Chris walked their dog Bertie alongside, when life changed in an instant.
Out of nowhere, an unaccompanied dog came running up to the couple, barking and snapping, hanging off the horse’s legs by its teeth. This spooked Max and led him to kick out. Cav was thrown from the horse, which then trampled on her as it tried to back away from the dog.
On the remote commons, with no road access, Cav desperately needed emergency care. Chris rang 999 and Cornwall Air Ambulance was immediately tasked to the scene. Responding to the call were critical care paramedics Thomas Hennessy Jones and Martin Bunt.
The helicopter landed just metres away from Catherine and paramedics started to assess her and administer pain relief.
Chris said: “Witnessing the whole incident was horrendous. You don’t really have time to process what is happening. Hearing the air ambulance approach was such a relief, they were there so quickly.”
Cav sustained serious injuries to her ribs, arm, spine and head during the incident.
She said: “It was traumatic, I can remember the pain. I couldn’t feel my legs, I wasn’t sure if they worked or not. I remember thinking ‘I can’t move’. When the paramedics arrived, it was very calm, the paramedics were so kind and I felt incredibly safe and well looked after.”
Cav was airlifted to Royal Cornwall Hospital for further treatment. Fortunately, she did not need surgery and has since recovered well from her injuries.
Six months to the day since her incident, Cav and Chris visited Cornwall Air Ambulance headquarters in Newquay to be reunited with the crew who helped her that day.
Cav said: “A very large horse trampled on me, so I feel very lucky to be here. It was great to meet the paramedics again and thank them for saving my life.”