'Why Did I Insist That She Go For Her Lesson?'
Young Parents Singapore|July - August 2019

Her daughter fell off a horse and broke her back. One mum shares the traumatic incident with Eveline Gan and cautions parents to listen to their kids.

Eveline Gan

Two years after a freak horse-riding accident almost left her daughter Abby (not her real name) permanently paralysed waist down, Marina Bhandari is still struggling with overwhelming guilt and regret.

On that fateful day in September 2017, the 44-year-old senior administrative manager did what many mums would do when her daughter wanted to skip her riding lesson because she “wasn’t in the mood”.

“That day, I insisted that she go for her lesson,” Marina says.

“I told her to be fair to her coach, because every time she cancelled, lessons would be affected. Plus, she had been missing her training sessions regularly and wasn’t feeling unwell or particularly flooded with homework that day.”

Abby, who was 14 years old then and a confident rider, was practising a new move inside the training paddock when the horse suddenly bolted. It threw her out of the saddle. She landed on her back, fracturing her spine in the process.

“Everything happened so suddenly and everyone was shocked because all the horses that they use for training have always been goodtempered. I heard that after it jumped, the horse simply stepped aside as if nothing happened. My husband, who had accompanied my daughter to her lesson, witnessed it all and was badly shaken,” says Marina, who has an older daughter aged 24.

She was getting ready for a family dinner when the call from her husband came.

“I thought they were on their way home. I never expected my husband to call to tell me Abby hurt her back. He sounded very agitated and was talking very fast. I dropped everything to rush to the hospital,” she shares.

An overwhelming sense of guilt hit her.

“I kept asking myself how could I have been such an ignoring and uncaring mother. Why did I insist that she go for her lesson?

“On the other hand, I kept wondering if an accident was truly meant to happen that day. Would something even worse have happened?” Marina says.

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