Winnipegger left in coma after fall from horse hopes to get back in the saddle

Six months after a fall from a horse left Rebecca Fentum-Jones in a coma — with doctors fearful she wouldn’t wake up — the 22-year-old-old Winnipegger is home from hospital.

Rebecca Fentum-Jones, 22, was thrown from her horse in June2018

Rebecca Fentum-Jones, 22, has returned home after she sustained a life-threatening head injury in June when she fell off her horse and landed on pavement. (Phantomequus/Instagram)

Six months after a fall from a horse left Rebecca Fentum-Jones in a coma — with doctors fearful she wouldn't wake up — the 22-year-old-old Winnipegger is home from hospital.

And Fentum-Jones says she plans on getting back in the saddle.

An experienced rider, Fentum-Jones was on a leisurely trail ride outside of the city June 17 when her horse stumbled coming out of a ditch while the pair crossed a highway.

She wasn't wearing a helmet, and hit the side of her head on the pavement. She was rushed to hospital in Winnipeg by air ambulance where she remained in a coma for the next two weeks.

After months of recovery Fentum-Jones was able to return home in October.

"I just recovered a whole lot quicker than some other people that had this surgery did," Fentum-Jones told CBC Manitoba Information Radio host Marcy Markusa.

Rebecca Fentum-Jones and her boyfriend Richie Rodgers. Fentum-Jones is recovering from home after being released from hospital in October. (Rudy Gauer/CBC)

It's a recovery doctor's have called nothing short of a miracle, says Fentum-Jones' boyfriend Richie Rodgers, who, along with her family, has been by her bedside since the accident.

He says the speed at which she has been recovering has helped him stay strong.

"She's taken a lot of the pressure off just with how well she's been doing and how well she's been handling things. That's made things a lot, I guess, easier," he said.

"She just kind of kept getting better and better and you kind of see it every day that slowly she was getting stronger and better cognitively."

Learning to walk and talk

It wasn't always easy though.

Fentum-Jones had to have both sides of her skull removed in order to relieve the swelling on her brain and has spent months since waking from the coma learning to walk again.

"It started with having to hold on to people, holding onto a walker, not being able to support myself with my legs completely," said Fentum-Jones.

"It took weeks and weeks of walking, holding on to something, to be able to just hold myself on my legs."

She also had to regularly work with speech therapists to learn to talk again.

Cognitively, Fentum-Jones says she's getting better every day. She says she remembered her name, her boyfriend and family members as soon as she woke up, but smaller memories from her life were gone at first.

They're coming back slowly, and she says her short-term memory is also improving.

But she says she has no memory of the accident itself.

"All that's gone," she said.

"I remember the start of the ride that messed me up, but nothing even close to when it happened, I can remember none of it."

To help with her cognitive ability Fentum-Jones has started making paracord bracelets, and has started working a part-time job with Rodgers and her mom.

When she's well enough, Fentum-Jones plans on returning to work at the ranch where she worked before the accident and slowly begin riding horses again — just not the horse she was riding when she fell.

She stresses one thing will change this time around; she will never get in the saddle without wearing a helmet again.

"I owned my own helmet and I just didn't have it with me that day," she said.

"From now, it's going to be, 'Oh I don't have my helmet with me? Well, guess we're not going to ride today — not gonna happen.'"