A PENSIONER paralysed in a riding accident has taken up the reins again thanks to a spinal injuries charity.
Margaret Toye, 67, of Milverton, did not think she would work with horses again after a horrific fall in 2011 left her in the regional spinal centre for seven months and needing a wheelchair.
But she triumphed at the British Driving Society show at Taunton Racecourse this month, saddling up in a special carriage following a grant from the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust.
Margaret, who won the red rosette and trophy in the novice whip class, said: “It was a wonderful feeling to be able to compete at Taunton Racecourse.
“The setting was perfect. The pony loved the feel of the grass under her feet and the carriage was easy to manoeuvre.
“I wouldn’t have been there had I not received the SSIT grant – it has helped me enormously.”
The carriage allows Margaret to ‘drive’ from her wheelchair – with a ramp at the back, she is able to easily get into the carriage and take the reins.
The aim is to progress to a carriage with a back stepper and ultimately to compete with able-bodied people.
Jeremy Major, trustee of SSIT, said: “Margaret’s clearly a natural horsewoman and it’s wonderful to be able to help her compete in this sport, which is both stimulating and challenging.
“We’ll watch her progress with great interest.”