A former National Hunt amateur ladies champion who almost died after a crashing fall in a lady amateur riders hurdle race at Fakenham in May 2011 has made a slow but remarkable recovery.
Given immediate attention by senior course doctor Piers Reinhold who ‘brought her back to life’ twice on the track, Isabel Tompsett, now 32, has defied predictions that she might never walk again.
Not only is she exercising her dog Primrose Lily for five miles every day but she has also got back into the saddle at her home in Merthyr Tydfil, south Wales.
Her injuries when she was thrown by her horse Leopold three-and-a-half years ago included brain damage, cracked vertebrae, a broken nose and collar bone as well as damage to a knee and an elbow.
For the first six weeks following the fall she remained in a coma and was paralysed down one side, receiving specialist treatment at Addenbrook’s Hospital in Cambridge.
A significant part of her recovery period was spent at Oaksey House, the dedicated rehabilitation centre in Lambourn, Berkshire, which is the legacy of Lord Oaksey and managed by the Injured Jockeys Fund.
Miss Tompsett, who has picked up her working life as an equine vet on a part-time basis, accepts that she will never race-ride again. But she is happy to be relatively fit despite experiencing some difficulties with the side that was paralysed when she fell.
In the past year Dr Reinhold has visited her and she has expressed a wish to return to Fakenham racecourse when the time is right and she feels back to her old self again.