Unlucky break for horse photographer

December 7, 2010

A spectacular leg break when her horse fell on her while on his way to his feed dish has capped off a bad run for Kiwi-born photographer Jan Milne.

Jan Milne's xray following surgery to correct a rotational break to her femur. The artificial hip joint can be seen at the top.

Doctors removed the 42 staples from Milne's leg yesterday.

It hasn't exactly been a dream run for her horse, Gambledown, either.

British-based Milne said her hip replacement on August 19 survived unscathed from the November 19 accident with Gambledown, but her femur suffered a nasty rotational break.

"Mr Rajan performed miracles in surgery, and I am lucky enough to have one of only four existing internal plates in the UK to restructure my battered limb," she told Horsetalk.

Milne and Gambledown's bad luck began three years ago, when they were out hacking on the January 3 public holiday.

The 17.3-hand thoroughbred was collected from behind by what Milne called an inattentive and speeding motorist.

The impact threw them forward on to the road.

"Gamble bolted after collecting his wits into the path of the next oncoming vehicle," she recounts.

"The result was a badly bruised and cut Gambledown, who crawled out from [under] the second car and ran home to ultimately spend several months in recovery."

Milne had to clamber from the sunroof of the second car, having thrown herself clear.

Her recovery was to prove long and drawn out, as she fought terrible back pain.

X-rays, scans and consultations with many specialists confirmed a broken vertebrae and severely arthritic hips.

One of her hips was replaced on August 19 this year, with Mr Sewell performing the surgery at Cambridgeshire's Hitchenbrookes hospital, and she says she bounced back well with an eight-week intensive rehabilitation programme.

She said he was able to jog a few strides and was "seriously considering getting back into the swing of things".

"It had all started so well!" she said.

She said she was mucking out on the morning of November 19 in what was to be a busy day.

"Whilst leading an eager Gamble out of his box into the next one to have breakfast ... in his wish to fill that empty tummy he lost his footing on the damp concrete in the doorway of the next stable and fell thunderously half-in and half-out."

Jan Milne and Gambledown
Milne jumped to the left in a bid to escape his fall, but his hind leg, which he threw out in a bid to balance himself getting up, knocked her off her feet.

Her femur was badly broken.

"I cannot thank enough the kindness of dear friends and the remarkable professional skills of the National Health Service here," she says.

The specialist plate holding her shattered leg together is one of only four such plates in Britain, she says.

"Praise be to all my supportive friends and family for their lovely messages of goodwill, and unending help, and my dear neighbour Emma who is filling the breach, you are all the best!"