Cooroibah resident Tayla Slater, 18, was injured after falling from her horse.
Cooroibah resident Tayla Slater, 18, was injured after falling from her horse. Patrick Woods

Teen thrown from horse after low driver act

A SUNSHINE Coast nursing student has been left in a neck brace with possible fractures after she was thrown from her horse as a result of the behaviour of a reckless driver.

Cooroibah resident Tayla Slater, 18, was riding the family's horse Tonto with twin sister Courtney on Saturday when a Holden Commodore pulled up next to them.

"We could hear it, it was a very loud car," Tayla said.

"We were riding on the grass on the right side of the road, there was quite a bit of space between us and the road," Tayla said.

"The car came onto our side of the road and came up close to Tonto and the driver revved."

The car spooked Tonto and Tayla was thrown.

"I fell off and onto my face," she said.

"I have squished my C5 vertebrae and have possibly fractured my C6 and C7 vertebrae," she said.

Tayla was released from hospital on Monday and scans in a few weeks will determine the full extent of damage.

But Tayla is unsure if she will ride Tonto, or any other horse again.

"If I fall off again I won't be so lucky," she said.

FREAK ACCIDENT: Cooroibah's Tayla Slater with horse Tonto, was involved in a freak accident due to a reckless driver. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.
FREAK ACCIDENT: Cooroibah's Tayla Slater with horse Tonto, was involved in a freak accident due to a reckless driver. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily. Patrick Woods

Having grown up around animals and with experience in equestrian vaulting where she performed gymnastics and dance while on horseback, Tayla said Tonto was usually very relaxed.

"He's quite a chill horse," she said.

"We've had him for six months. We got him as a rescue horse."

Tayla said the now four-year-old Tonto was "dumped" at just five months old.

"He's an amazing horse.

"He was so upset when I fell off, he was standing over me to make sure I was OK."

"When I got home from the hospital I went to give him a pat, he was very aware of me."

Tonto even braved last year's Cooroibah bushfire disaster, when Courtney was forced to evacuate their home on horseback.

She is hoping to raise awareness for drivers to be more careful.

"I think the message is to be aware that horses are unpredictable. And to the driver, he (Tonto) could have jumped out the other way onto the car."

The family is also wanting more horse riding signs around Cooroibah, particularly along Jirrima Cres, which is commonly used by riders to access horse trails.


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