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Horse rider dies aged 31 by apparent assisted suicide after life-changing injury

A horse rider who suffered a life-changing spinal injury has revealed why she decided to take her own life in an emotional letter published after her death – in an apparent assisted suicide.

Caroline March was knocked unconscious after a serious fall while riding in a cross-country event in Norfolk, in April 2022, in which she fractured and dislocated two vertebrae.

In the days afterwards, the professional rider posted on Instagram: “I still have no feeling to my legs but I can now feel and use my abs and have been getting random twitches to my legs which I have been told is really encouraging.”

Weeks later, in a post that showed her in a wheelchair shooting a basketball hoop after her treatment had started, she said: “Making really good progress, physio has been going well.”

Then, four months later, she wrote on social media: “I’m not going to lie, I’m struggling, like really struggling. I’m broken, this isn’t me. I go riding for solace, I do exercise to clear my head, go for walks with my pooches and it’s been totally stripped from me.

“This is not a cry for help, well I don’t think it is. I’m just putting my cards on the table. It’s exhausting being strong and putting a brave face on and saying I’m ok, I’m not, I’m far from ok. I’m well and truly broken, physically, mentally and emotionally.”

A year on, she posted: “How is it 1 year since without a doubt the worst day of my life. I wish I could say it was getting easier but it’s not.”

In a letter shared on her Facebook page announcing her death on Saturday, the 31-year-old, from Colchester in Essex, told of her battle to recover – but how she remained hampered by her career-ending injury.

She underwent extensive physiotherapy and flew to the US for experimental treatment – but she said her injury stopped her from doing “anything and everything” she once loved to do.

Ms March described herself as someone who once thrived on “spontaneity” and being “feral” – and was “independent” and an adrenaline junkie.

However, post-injury her quality of life was impacted.

“Everything that defined me is physically not possible to do in a way that I enjoy,” she wrote.

Ms March also told of her desire to be a mother, writing: “All I ever wanted was a family and I’d have given up everything in an instant to have one.”

She said she had never understood society’s obsession with longevity and the need to live for as long as possible.

“Alan Watts, a well known philosopher famously said ‘I’d rather have a short life that is full of what I love doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way’,” she wrote.

“Assisted suicide is always something that I believed in and I have always said that if anything happened to me and I was forced into the predicament that I couldn’t have the quality of life that I wanted, that would be the route I’d take.

“Not going to lie, never imagined it would come to fruition, but here we are.

“No one can truly understand what I have to go through.

“My utmost respect for anyone who hasn’t only made a life after injury, but those that have flourished.

“I take my hat off to you, you really are inspirations, but that ain’t me.”

“It’s not an existence I want,” she wrote.

She added: “I have felt so much love from so many people the last few years, I just wish love could fix it or even make it bearable, but it can’t.”

Tributes have been paid to Ms March, with Eventing Nation describing her as “well-known and loved throughout the British eventing community for her big personality and fiery streak, and a zest for the things that she loved that saw her accomplish much in her three decades”.

In a joint statement, British Eventing and the British Eventing Support Trust, said they were saddened to learn of Ms March’s death.

“Eventing is a close-knit community and Caroline was a popular and successful member of the eventing family,” they said.

“Life-changing injuries are extremely difficult physically and mentally, both for the individual and those around them, and everyone handles them in their own way. Caroline was aware of and engaged with the help offered to BE competing members.

“British Eventing and the BE Support Trust extend their deepest sympathy to Caroline’s family and friends during this difficult time.”

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK

Sky News Source