ON THE MEND: Robyn Haig has returned to work after being kicked in the head by a horse in June.
ON THE MEND: Robyn Haig has returned to work after being kicked in the head by a horse in June. Matthew Newton

Horse kick to the head nearly kills woman

THE thing that sticks in Robyn Haig's mind about the accident which nearly killed her is how it was the consequence of something so normal. Before her accident, horse riding had just been part of her almost daily routine.

An experienced horse rider, Mrs Haig had been on her ordinary mount, Tilly, a mare she had bred herself, on her family's own property, practising polocrosse with her dad, when a small number of slight errors coalesced to amount to the one almost devastating mistake.

"I've pulled on her mouth too hard, which was rider-error, and she's reared up," Mrs Haig said.

"It's a pretty every day (mistake). I would have one of those regularly. When she reared up I fell on the ground right under her feet. When she came down from her rear, one of her feet went in my hood and as she's gone to move away from me, it's wrapped around her foot. She's thought she's tied up in wire or something and in shaking it off she's kicked me in the head."

Knocked unconscious with a severe head wound which caused bleeding to her brain, Mrs Haig was saved by the quick response of her mum and dad, who called the ambulance that, in turn, was at the scene and attending to her in no time.

The next three weeks were spent at the Brisbane Princess Alexander Hospital's high dependency ward and then orthopaedics as surgery was required to stitch up the laceration that ran from her temple bone around the back of head, dislodge the bone from her eye socket and reattach her ear. Then, once she was finally home with her husband and two young daughters in Chinchilla again, she required around the clock observation from a family member.

"It (caring for me) became the responsibility of my whole entire family. It was like I was being babysat," she said.

"They (my doctors) didn't expect me to return to work this year.... I think they didn't know if I would walk again, they didn't know if I would remember anything before the accident."

Yet more than four months on, despite still recovering with ongoing issues with memory, fatigue, balance and hearing, Mrs Haig actually partly returned to work at the Chinchilla Community Commerce & Industry and was given the all-clear to drive again. Simple things to most, but for someone who has lost their independence and didn't know if they would ever regain control of their own life again, these marks of the normal life she had before her accident mean the world.

"It was a really good kind of normal. It was comforting to go to work on a Monday, feel like you've achieved something, and then to go home. I had been finding Sundays really tough days because I know the next day everyone's going to work or to school and I'll just be at home."

And while the life-long rider and lover of horses is facing the reality she may never ride again, it seems small in the grand scheme.

"It's a bitter-sweet thing. It's something I've done my whole life, but I suppose, it's sort of hard to think I could have not come back to my kids," she said.

"The thought of not coming back to your kids..... I handle every thing okay until I think about the impact it's had on the kids."