Freak horse-riding accident leads to amputation of young woman’s legs

2018-12-06 23:25
PHOTO: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA.

PHOTO: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA.

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A rider lost both her legs as well as her horse after it ran in front of a moving train.

Army reservist Clarice Sykes (23) from California in the US has been an avid horse rider since she was a young girl but a freak horse-riding accident recently left her needing both legs amputated.

Clarice used to ride her 10-year-old Arabian horse, Comanche, at least six days a week.

"I started riding horses when I was just five years old and then never stopped," said Clarice.

"I would ride my horse almost every day."

She says it was her favourite hobby and she loved the thrill she got from it.

But when she was out riding on 1 July this year, the horse was spooked by an oncoming train and ran onto the tracks.

Clarice was thrown against the side of the moving train.

"Comanche passed away instantly, and I was found about 10 minutes after it happened. But my left leg wasn't attached to my body – it was severed above the knee. It was found near me instead.

"I actually don't remember anything from my accident at all, but all I know is what the police on the scene were able to tell my parents.

"[When I woke up I] remember asking my mom why one leg was shorter than the other."

Although Clarice's left leg was found nearby it couldn’t be reattached.

When she arrived at the hospital, her left eye was so severely swollen doctors weren't sure she had an eye left at first. She'd also broken her nose.

Two weeks later Clarice's right leg needed to be amputated due to an infection she'd contracted.

She was in hospital for a month after her surgeries then went to rehab for a further two weeks.

Despite feeling the occasional nerve pains, Clarice has managed to make a great deal of progress in her rehabilitation programme and is learning to walk on her new prosthetic legs just three months after the accident.

Many of the people around Clarice have commented on how determined and inspirational her outlook has been throughout the ordeal, but in her own eyes she says she's just trying to do what she can.

"I feel like the hardest part of all of this for me was losing my independence and not being able to work, drive or ride horses," said Clarice.

"Everyone I know, even my prosthetist, say that I've recovered extremely fast. I think because I'm in good spirits and I always try to be as positive as I can be, that really helps me.  I've always been driven and motivated to achieve what I want.

"Physical therapy was always good and something I looked forward to because I've always loved working out. Before all of this I used to powerlift, and I could leg press 340kg.

"I can't wait to ride a horse again and I will actually start again next year. I feel like I've had enough for this year though."

She advises people to always be grateful for their lives. 

"For anyone else, don't take anything in life for granted because one day you could have everything you could ever want or need, but the next it could all be gone in the blink of an eye."

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