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Teenage horse fall survivor ‘can’t thank CareFlight enough’

If you had asked 18-year-old Taylah McGee whether she’d get back in the saddle after her horrific horse riding accident, she’d have told you the number of days, hours and minutes until her doctors said she could ride again.

The former RACQ CareFlight Rescue patient has been on the long road to recovery after suffering fractures to two vertebrae in her lower back that left her in a spinal brace and unable to walk without the aid of crutches for three months.

On November 6 last year, the Woodford local was horse riding by herself in the Beerburrum State Forest when a logging truck sped past, kicking up a thick cloud of dust.

The Buckskin Stockhorse, named Toby, was normally good with traffic, but shied and threw Taylah onto the hard surface below.

“I don’t remember hitting the ground,” Taylah said.

“The first thing I remember was seeing things from a blurry point of view and fading in and out.”

Drifting in and out of consciousness, Taylah recalls two motorists discovering her and calling for an ambulance.

“The couple who found me were really lovely,” she said.

“They stayed with me until help arrived.”

Taylah was badly concussed and needed to get to hospital the fastest way possible.

With injuries too serious for the bumpy drive out, RACQ CareFlight Rescue’s Sunshine Coast-based helicopter was urgently tasked to the scene of the accident.

While CareFlight’s medical team stabilised Taylah, Aircrewman Dan King reassured the first-time flyer that everything was going to be okay.

“I was extremely distressed when they arrived as I’d never been in a plane, let alone a helicopter, but their soothing words and reassurance made me feel safe,” she said.

“I was scared, but Dan held my hand for the whole flight.

“The crew was caring, kind and very reassuring.”

Taylah was airlifted to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in a stable condition, where she spent three nights receiving treatment for her injuries.

Initially told by doctors that she would spend two years in a spinal brace, Taylah’s recovery has gone considerably well.

“I was in a spinal brace for three months and when it finally came off at the beginning of February it was very exciting,” Taylah said.

“I was happy to breathe again!”

On March 28 – 142 days after the serious accident – Taylah got back in the saddle for her first horse ride.

“It’s like I have a part of me back,” Taylah said of riding again.

“When the doctor told me I couldn’t horse ride it broke my heart.

“Horse riding is my passion, so having that taken away from me was unbearable.

“But when the doctor gave me clearance to get back in the saddle, I felt complete again.”

For now Taylah is building her confidence back up one ride at a time and is considering doing a course in equestrian coaching.

“I want to teach others how to ride and give them the same joy it gives me.”

Today, Taylah visited CareFlight’s Sunshine Coast hangar with her grandmother Leonie to personally thank the rescue crew who rushed to her aid.

Taylah and Leonie also took a rare behind-the-scenes tour of the aircraft hangar.

“I’m certain if it wasn’t for CareFlight I would be in a much worse condition now – I cannot thank them enough.”