Te Kauwhata horse trainer Tony Cole saw his wife had turned white and thought she was dead.
"When I first got there I thought she was gone, I couldn't hear her breathing and she was going white," Tony Cole told the Waikato Times yesterday.
His wife, Louise, 54, had just fallen off and been trampled by her horse during a routine track ride on the couple's farm on Saturday morning, suffering a serious chest injury.
"From what I gather the horse shied and then tripped and she went out the side and tried to hang on and went underneath its front legs," he said.
A friend was with her at the track and alerted Tony Cole.
When emergency services told him an ambulance would have to come from Huntly, he requested the chopper.
Louise Cole was assisted at the scene by St John paramedics then transported to Waikato Hospital by the Westpac Waikato Air Ambulance.
"I think without [the helicopter and St John paramedics] it would have been touch and go if she survived.
"She was losing a lot of blood," Tony Cole said. She suffered several broken ribs and a punctured lung in the accident, but her husband said brain damage had been ruled out as her head, back and neck were fine.
His wife remained in the hospital's intensive care unit yesterday in a critical but stable condition, he said.
"She will be in hospital for a long time.
"They have still got her sedated and they are trying to get her to breathe by herself. But she's in the right place and they have a 24-hour watch on her."
Louise Cole bred mare Beyond Desire, who won the $40,000 1600m Loch Haven Thoroughbreds Final at Te Rapa in 2012.
Tony Cole was the trainer.
In March, the six-year-old mare came second in the Ellerslie Otakiri Reserve Nathans Memorial Open.
The dam [mother] of Beyond Desire, For Love, was also trained by Tony for his wife.
The horse won six races including the group two NRM/Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes in 2002. Tony has about 10 horses in work.
- Waikato Times