A rider who was knocked off her horse on a rural lane in Somerset and broke six bones was saved by an app – which led medics to her exact location.
Caroline Sheppard fell off her horse, Stanley, after he bolted under a partially fallen tree last August and was left with four broken ribs, a fractured right shoulder blade and a broken left humerus, writes Jake Meeus-Jones of SWNS.
Caroline was left alone on the country lane in the woods near Weston-Super-Mare.
Thankfully, she had her phone on her and quickly dialed 999. She attempted to describe her location to the call operator but knew it would be difficult for an ambulance to find.
Luckily, her son, Robert, and a local farmer, Keith Ramond, found Caroline in the woods after Robert received a call from his mum and tracked her location on his phone.
They then shared their exact what3words location with the emergency services using the what3words app, which has divided the planet up into three meter squares and given each square a unique combination of three words.
She said: “I was on my own and in a lot of pain, but luckily I had my phone on me.
“I gave the 999 call operator the best description that I could, but I was on a path that is quite difficult to find unless you know it’s there.
“Robert and the farmer had found me quite quickly as they are familiar with the area, but this was not the case for the ambulance.
“Coupled with my poor directions due to being afraid and in pain, and the hidden nature of the path, the emergency services were really struggling to find me.
“The what3words address made the world of difference. I had heard of the what3words app through a friend who lives in a rural area, she uses it to help guide people to her address.
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“I am so grateful that we had it downloaded so the emergency services could find me quickly.
“I think the app is brilliant, I swear by it now and tell everyone to download it because it is so simple and easy to use, and you never know when you might need it.”
Caroline had been coming towards the end of her ride with Stanley and was only half a mile from home.
“We’d been on a long ride around local country lanes in the woods, and we were probably half a mile from the field where I kept him when I saw a tree that had partially fallen over, but it looked like we could pass under so we continued on.
“I was absolutely certain we could fit through, but the closer we got I realized I had overestimated the amount of space under the branch.
“At this point it was too late to stop Stanley, who put his head down and shot right under the branch, pushing me off.
“I hit the branch and landed on my left shoulder which was extremely painful.”
Caroline watched Stanley gallop off in the direction of his field as she was left on the floor in excruciating pain.
She said: “I decided to call 999 as I knew I’d be unable to get up on my own.
“When trying to describe my location to the call operator, all I could think of was my own post code which covers a very large area.”
Caroline was then told by the call operator that an ambulance was on its way to try and find her and they’d check in with her shortly to see how she was doing.
In the meantime, she called her son, Robert, who was quickly able to locate her.
She said: “He managed to locate me on our family phone tracker and headed over to find me.
“During this time, a local farmer had noticed Stanley at the gate of his field, and after he guided Stan to safety, he phoned a friend of mine to get my number and also headed my way.
“My son and the farmer managed to find the what3words address of our location and shared it with the emergency services which made a world of difference.”
Giles Rhys Jones, chief marketing officer at what3words says: “It’s always very humbling to hear from people just like Caroline who have used what3words in an emergency situation. We’re pleased to know that she is on the road to a full recovery.
“Supporting the phenomenal work of 85 percent of the UK’s emergency services is something we’re incredibly proud of. What3words is a valuable tool, both for emergency services and members of the public.”