Community spirit shines through after riders suffer spate of falls

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ORANISERS, marshals and medical staff have been praised for their actions during Saturday’s ride-out to Roberton.

The annual ride saw several nasty falls and as many as four participants required hospital treatment – the most serious being former Common-Riding Committee chairman Jim Hogg, who fractured his neck and suffered a heart attack after being thrown from his horse on leaving Roberton.

While the air ambulance was called to take Mr Hogg to Borders General Hospital, medical attention at the scene was provided by Dr Niall Campbell.

Ride-out Working Party chairman Graeme Paxton said: “Dr Campbell was a great help. There’s no doubt that without his quick thinking and help, Jim would have been in a lot more trouble.”

The drama began just before Roberton when local painter David Oliver came off his horse. Mr Oliver, who became a Mosstrooper last year, explained: “It was about the last field before Roberton, I was going down a slight incline and there was a wee girl fell off in front of me. I dodged her but I’ve been told her pony ran into me and I fell off and tumbled across the ground.

“A lot of walkers came across to help me and I vaguely remember Ian Landles and Graeme Cockburn, Pye Reid and Gordon Jackson being there. The next thing I knew I was in a marshal’s car and I was at Roberton.”

It is understood the 41-year-old had been knocked out for some two or three minutes. He was taken to the BGH but released after being treated for concussion.

And he has vowed to be back in the saddle for the Thursday and Friday of the Common-Riding. He added: “I can’t praise everyone enough for all the help they gave me. It’s a really well-organised event and there’s months of preparation beforehand. I think it was just an unlucky weekend.

“It’s not going to stop me. Both my sisters and my mother have said that’s me banned from horse-riding and I’m not allowed to ride this weekend because of my concussion. But I’ll be back on again.”

Thirteen-year-old Lucy Szoneberg was another who ran into difficulties when she was thrown off her pony in the first field after leaving Roberton. The high school pupil landed badly on rocks and suffered severe back pain, and was transported to the BGH wearing a neck brace and on a spinal board as a precaution.

Her mum Louise said: “After an assessment and a dose of painkillers she was let home on Saturday night and is now recuperating. She’s bruised and very stiff and sore still but recovering well.

“I would like to thank everyone who helped in any way on Saturday. There was a great community spirit and everyone was happy to give up their time to offer support, whether it be a coat to keep her warm or a bit of medical advice and to get the pony back home safely.”

Lucy also received a telephone call from Cornet Michael Davidson checking on her recovery.

Unbelievably there was a further incident when Joe Crawford was hurled into a telegraph pole shortly before the Ailing Water, requiring hospital treatment for cartilidge damage to his ribs and cuts to his face.

Mr Crawford, who was riding with his ten-year-old daughter Holly, said: “I still can’t get my head round what happened. It was a freak accident and just one of those things.

“The horse was heading straight for a telegraph pole. He didn’t want to go round it, he wanted to go through it.

“There’s way too many people to thank, but I’m grateful to everyone.”

It is understood a Selkirk rider also suffered a broken ankle on the ride-out.

Mr Paxton added: “The accidents could have happened anywhere, it was just an unlucky day, but the marshals all did a great job.”