After a couple of hours of riding, Tam Bowker decided to cool her ex thoroughbred race horse off in the surf at the southern end of Raumati South, north of Wellington.

There were a number of people at the beach, as well as some dogs off leash, on Saturday before last, just after 4pm, so Bowker was cautious not to take Cruz too close to them.

They wandered along the shallows and then up to Cruz's knees when a breaking wave spooked him and "he went straight up without any warning".

Bowker, who was wearing a helmet, was thrown off the horse and landed on the left side of her back in the water.


Her first instinct was to get out of the water, which was coming over her, so she tried to get up but realised there was something wrong with her left leg.

"The pain was really intense and I felt a little bit dizzy."

Various people were quickly beside her offering assistance.

Coincidentally one of the first people was one of her mother's work colleagues, Ruth Payne, at her bach that day with family from Cambridge.

Someone called Wellington Free Ambulance while Bowker managed to call police as she was worried her horse, who had bolted inland, might get in the way of motorists.

Two young girls, Alice Mason and Eleanor Long, found the 5-year-old horse outside Te Ra School, in Poplar Ave, and handed him over to mother and daughter duo Sarah Williams and Yazmin Williams who put him in his grazing paddock nearby.

With the tide incoming, Bowker had to be moved, so two people lifted her away from the water.

Bowker also praised the efforts of a young girl.

"She had seen it all unfold and she told me she had said 'mum there's a lady who has just fallen off her horse'."

Instead of going back boogie boarding, the girl went up to Bowker to see if she could help.

"I got talking to her and said 'you're an amazing young lady' and said 'what do you want to do' and she said 'I want to be a nurse' which I thought was so sweet because she wanted to help me."

Three fire officers, three police officers and two ambulance officers put Bowker on a stretcher and then gave her some pain relief.

FIRST AID: Emergency services help Tam Bowker after she fell off her horse.
FIRST AID: Emergency services help Tam Bowker after she fell off her horse.

She was lifted up and taken over a gravel hill and down to a carpark before eventually ending up in Wellington Hospital where an X-ray showed she had three fractures on the left side of her pelvis.

Tam praised everyone for helping her including her partner Ross Deadman, Wellington Free Ambulance, Fire Service, Police and members of the public.

"The response from the public and emergency services was amazing.

"They acted straight away.

"I'm very thankful."