‘Strong’ paralysed rider visited at hospital by her horse

PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 September 2018

Alvina Shiel with horse Troy outside Southmead Hospital. Picture: Shelley Sterckx

Alvina Shiel with horse Troy outside Southmead Hospital. Picture: Shelley Sterckx

Shelley Sterckx

A Clevedon woman who was left paralysed after being flung from her horse is ‘determined’ to walk and ride again after she received a special hospital visitor.

Alvina Shiel with her daughter Shelley and horse Troy. Picture: Shelley SterckxAlvina Shiel with her daughter Shelley and horse Troy. Picture: Shelley Sterckx

The family of Alvina Shiel worked with the staff at Southmead Hospital, in Bristol, to enable her horse Troy to visit after she was left with a broken neck and spinal cord injury.

Alvina, aged 68, was in a riding accident on August 10 during a jumping lesson with her daughter, Shelley Sterckx, at the Sperrings Riding Stables in Clapton-in-Gordano.

She landed on the jump and was rushed to the hospital with a broken neck and spinal cord injury which left her with no feeling below her elbows or in her legs.

Alvina has been told she will ‘never walk again’ but her family says she is determined to beat the odds and get back on her horse.

Alvina Shiel with her horse Troy. Picture: Shelley SterckxAlvina Shiel with her horse Troy. Picture: Shelley Sterckx

Shelley said: “Mum has just been incredible. She is determined to walk and ride Troy again.”

Alvina suffered a broken vertebrae and one disc had moved foward causing the spinal injury.

She had emergency surgery to remove the disc and replace it with a metal plate, but her surgeon told her family she ‘would never walk again’.

Shelley added: “We are now playing a waiting game, there is feeling coming back in her fingers which are positive signs.

Alvina Shiel with her horse Troy surrounded by family, friends and Southmead Hosptial staff. Picture: Shelley SterckxAlvina Shiel with her horse Troy surrounded by family, friends and Southmead Hosptial staff. Picture: Shelley Sterckx

“Mum has just been incredible, we don’t know where she gets her strength from. She is determined to walk and ride Troy again.”

To lift her spirits, Shelley worked with Southmead staff to get Troy to the hospital’s car park for a visit.

She said: “Alvina kept asking how he was and we were saying he is fine but you could see she was struggling.

“We were able to get him to the hospital’s car park and brought her down and she was so overwhelmed we had managed to do it.

Alvina Shiel with her horse Troy. Picture: Shelley SterckxAlvina Shiel with her horse Troy. Picture: Shelley Sterckx

“It was incredible, she needed to see him and to have that interaction for half an hour.”

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