Four top event riders are recovering after cross-country falls at the Pine Top Horse Trials in Georgia in the US on February 28.
The most seriously injured was US rider Jan Byyny, who fell from her young horse, Wallstread. Byyny was unconscious for about two minutes, suffered multiple contusions and a fractured right forearm. She was transported to the hospital in Augusta for evaluation and care.
As a result of the accident, Byyny’s carotid artery was dissected, resulting in a minor stroke that caused damage to the language area of her brain.
She is unable to speak but has no problems with comprehension and is fully aware of what is going on around her. “She communicates with her doctors and us using a variety of non-verbal methods,” her parents, Dick and Jo, said. “You can imagine how frustrating this is for her.”
On Monday (March 8), Byyny underwent surgery to repair her fractured arm, and will be in a cast for about six weeks. She is working hard at speech and physical therapy, and will be moving to Walton Rehab for the week before heading home to Virginia and outpatient therapy.
Also at Pine Top, Canadian rider Rebecca Howard broke both collarbones, several ribs and punctured a lung in a rotational fall on her advanced horse Roquefort. The accident was at the penultimate fence, an upright vertical. The horse was uninjured. Howard went home from hospital on Monday.
Canadian Rebecca Lee was taken to hospital with concussion after a fall from advanced horse Gold Twist, and Karen O’Connor suffered concussion in a fall from Ronaldo. She withdrew the rest of her team from the event. She was not hospitalised.