Riding accident: U.S. woman in ICU

2010-07-26 00:00

A U.S. citizen is fighting for her life in a Pietermaritzburg hospital after she was thrown from a horse while riding on a farm in the Mooi River area on Friday afternoon.

Mick Goss, owner of Hartford House, released a statement at the weekend that said their guest, Helen Strauss, and her fiancé, Edward George, of Virginia, accompanied by an experienced member of their management team, had just left their stable precinct and put the horses into a canter up a hill when she fell off the horse.

“Both Ms Strauss and Mr George are accomplished riders, who asked for horses to suit their experience. Both horses are ridden regularly and have provided our guests with a great deal of riding pleasure over the years,” said Goss.

The statement said the two riders were nearing the top of the hill and “were going comfortably, when Miss Strauss appeared to lose her seat and slipped onto the horse’s neck”.

“This was strange as she was going uphill, but it’s possible her foot either slipped her stirrup, or she had blacked out. She slipped off the side of the horse, and fell to the ground. She obviously fell awkwardly, as she had blacked out when our riding instructor, who was on the horse behind her, reached her,” said Goss.

“The couple were properly equipped, and as I’ve said, they were both highly experienced. This is very a very unfortunate accident and the next 48 hours will tell us more. She is in the best possible place, and her family will be arriving … from the USA.”

Nsele Emergency Medical Services was first to arrive at the scene and immediately stabilised her. Netcare911 advanced life support paramedics also attended.

Strauss was in a critical condition and was intubated, placed on a manual ventilator and taken by ambulance to Medi-Clinic hospital.

A spokesperson for the hospital, Reshnee Beekrum, confirmed that Strauss is in the intensive care unit, but would not provide any other details as Strauss’s family do not want to comment.

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