Brave Zoe gets back in the saddle

A SCHOOLGIRL whose back was badly broken after a concrete canopy fell on her has gone horseriding for the first time since the freak accident.For 11-year-old Zoe Talbot it was the latest success in her remarkable recovery, which has seen her regain movement in her legs after being left paralysed from the waist down and having only a 50/50 chance of walking again.

A SCHOOLGIRL whose back was badly broken after a concrete canopy fell on her has gone horseriding for the first time since the freak accident.

For 11-year-old Zoe Talbot it was the latest success in her remarkable recovery, which has seen her regain movement in her legs after being left paralysed from the waist down and having only a 50/50 chance of walking again.

The youngster, from Hadleigh, was sitting on the front doorstep of a friend's home when a concrete canopy suddenly fell on her in September last year.

The Hadleigh Primary School pupil suffered severe spinal injuries and a broken leg and ribs. But through her time in hospital and her intensive physiotherapy she remained determined to not only walk again but to ride as well.


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After having her balance tested on a mechanical horse, she rode for the first time last week and showed off her ability to her dad, Bob, and the EADT, yesterday at the Riding for the Disabled Association's centre at Shelley.

She said: "I did think I would go riding, it was just getting the confidence, to build yourself up.

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"It felt like me, it felt like what I love doing and how it felt before. I had to use a ramp to get me on, which was different, but when I was on it felt the same as ever: like it has felt for seven years."

Zoe's mum Mandy said: "It was so emotional to see. She told me to stop crying.

"If I look back to the beginning then no, I would not have thought I would see her ride again, but she's come on leaps and bounds since she's been home and there was always that hope there that she would get feeling back.

"After the accident her first words were not 'will I walk again mum?' but 'will I be able to ride again?'

"Her dad saw her for the first time today and was shedding a tear or two as well. She sits up there so proud with a grin on her face permanently."

Now Zoe has started riding there seems to be no stopping her. She said: "What I really want to do when I'm older is to work with horses and do something like that and I want to go into shows as well."

Last Christmas, when Zoe was home from hospital with her family she experienced a major breakthrough and moved her legs for the first time.

Mrs Talbot said: "She's doing very well and they have said she could be fitted with callipers in October. They are concentrating on standing, pulling herself up to standing between parallel bars, and the goal is to stand for three minutes.

"She has muscle movement below her waist in her back and in both of her legs. It's just about building everything up and seeing what she is capable of."

Within weeks of returning home Zoe went back to school and started to catch up on the six months she had lost. Yesterday she also had her induction day at Hadleigh High School, where she will go in September.

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