June 11, 2019
A horse's kick may have shattered her leg, but a Port Waikato horse rider says a few basic safety principles may have saved her life.
Kellie Cambell, an experienced equestrian, was on a ride along the Port Waikato sand dunes, with her daughter, and a friend on May 3 when she moved to the side of a narrow trail to let a spare horse move to the front of the group.
"As she went by, the horse kicked out at my horse and got me instead."
The hoof struck between Campbell's knee and ankle.
"There was this horrific snap that everybody heard."
The injury shattered her leg causing the bone to protrude from the open wound.
"There wasn't much room for doubt."
The group had to make a decision whether to make for the main road.
"But I had worries that I might pass out, I was already getting light headed."
The group decided to stay where they were, stabilise Cambell's leg, and wait for emergency services.
"I remember the doors of the [Westpac Rescue Helicopter] closing, flying up over Manukau, Waiuku and landing at the hospital helipad.
"The crew were awesome."
Surgery was performed on her leg later that day, and she was discharged from Middlemore Hospital four days later.
Cambell is now getting used to life on crutches, she says there are lessons to take away from the accident.
"Carry a cell phone when you're riding, I always carry one in my saddle bag."
It was thanks to a cell phone that her daughter was able to dial 111.
"And never go riding alone. I was fading in and out, and I might not have been able to make the call."
And with a steady stream of blood coming from her open wound, Campbell says losing consciousness would have spelt real trouble.
"If I was by myself, if I passed out, it could have been hours before I was found."
She says correct safety gear also slowed the bleeding.
"If I didn't have the correct riding gear, like chaps, there would have been no pressure.
"I mean, we're all very experienced horse people, if it can happen to us it can happen to anyone."