'He still has nightmares': Three-year-old boy has his entire face reconstructed after being kicked in the face by a horse


“You never think it will happen to your own child,” says Tobie Steyn.

His three-year-old son’s face was recently reconstructed after the boy was kicked by a horse.

Drikus Steyn is already back home on a game farm between Groot Marico and Swartruggens in the North West, where his dad, Tobie, works as a foreman. He was discharged from hospital on Saturday.

The family had just bought the horse when the former owners wanted to send him to the abattoir. “We knew no one would ride him,” Tobie says, explaining they just wanted to offer him a home on the farm.

On Monday Tobie’s wife Suzanne was at home with Drikus when the former racehorse somehow got out of his paddock. It’s believed someone left the gate open.

Drikus apparently walked behind the horse and was kicked in the face. When he burst into tears Suzanne went out to him.

She phoned Tobie, who rushed Drikus to hospital. The boy had suffered fractures to his nose, cheekbone and jaw and multiple fractures of his eyebrow ridge. Four of his teeth were missing and his lip was torn open.

At the first state hospital they went to they were told Drikus could be operated on only much later. So they went to The Little Company of Mary Hospital in Pretoria.

“He’ll have teeth missing until he’s about six,” Tobie says.

He says his son has occasional nightmares and is afraid of noise. “Something like this is traumatic for a child.”

You feel helpless seeing your child in pain, says Tobie, who also has a daughter, Karien (15 months), with Suzanne.

Doctors had to surgically repair the fractured bones in Drikus’ face and his injured lip required more than 40 stitches to mend.

“Fortunately they were clean fractures.”

Tobie says Drikus is a farm boy who grew up among animals and loves them.

“Many people, especially from Rustenburg, have helped us and we’re very grateful.”

The family don’t have medical aid and Marico Academy, where Drikus is a learner, has started a fund-raising campaign for them. If you're able to lend a hand, call the school on 014-503-0078 if you're able to help.

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