Lancashire Life - - EQUESTRIAN LIFE - WORDS: Mairead Ma­hon

A for­mer event rider who broke both her arms in a fall has cre­ated a safe place for people go­ing through dif­fi­cult times

For­mer armed ser­vice per­son­nel and ex­e­mer­gency ser­vices staff are re-dis­cov­er­ing their con­fi­dence and start­ing to re­build their lives by spend­ing time with horses in Par­bold.

People suf­fer­ing with post­trau­matic stress dis­or­der are be­ing helped through the Sta­ble Lives pro­gramme at Par­bold Eques­trian Cen­tre by for­mer in­ter­na­tional event rider Car­rie By­rom.

But it was when she over­came the trauma of a bad fall from a horse dur­ing a cross coun­try event two years ago that Car­rie de­cided to de­vote her life to helping oth­ers.

‘The horse I was rid­ing had lit­er­ally never ever made a mis­take be­fore but that day, he

made a huge one, which saw me fall un­der him,’ she said.

‘It re­sulted in smashed arms, a bro­ken el­bow and a to­tally oblit­er­ated wrist.

‘Amaz­ingly, I did make a re­cov­ery and started rid­ing again but as all horse rid­ers who have been in that po­si­tion will know, my rid­ing was never quite the same and so, two years ago, I de­cided to give it up and fol­low a dif­fer­ent path.’

The not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion Sta­ble Lives had been run­ning for about a year at the time of Car­rie’s ac­ci­dent. Since getting back into a dif­fer­ent sad­dle, Car­rie has made a huge dif­fer­ence to many lives through the cour­ses she runs at the cen­tre, in which those suf­fer­ing with PTSD can talk about their ex­pe­ri­ences and, through the horses, re-learn con­fi­dence and self-care.

As an ex-mil­i­tary wife her­self, Car­rie knows just how dif­fi­cult ex­pe­ri­enc­ing PTSD can be. And she added: ‘It’s pretty ap­pro­pri­ate that re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion goes on here at Par­bold Eques­trian Cen­tre, as it re­ally was our watch­word be­fore Sta­ble Lives was even thought of! When my mum, Ni­cola bought it 20 years ago, to say it was ram­shackle was an un­der­state­ment but be­cause we didn’t have huge amounts of cash, we had to carry out lots of the jobs our­selves.

‘It’s amaz­ing how quickly you learn to use car­pen­ters’ tools when it’s ei­ther that or see more of the roof col­lapse around you,’ laughs Car­rie.

Sta­ble Lives leader Car­rie By­rom (right) with Char­lie Board­man and Elie Cock­ing

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