BRAVE Danielle Welburn took her first steps back to school yesterday - just seven weeks after doctors feared she may never walk unaided again.
Danielle, 10, was injured in a freak riding accident which saw her pelvis smashed and detached from her spine.
On April 4 the youngster was riding her horse Gari when the pony tripped, threw Danielle off and fell on top of her.
She was rushed to the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
Mum Rachel Smith, 35, said she was just leaving work in Halifax when she got a call.
The project manager added: "The riding school told me Danielle had been in an accident and they had called an ambulance.
"I just kept thinking it would be something and nothing and we would be in casualty for a couple of hours."
But when Rachel arrived at the hospital she was told by doctors that her daughter was in a serious condition.
She added: "It was awful. As the evening wore on the news got worse and worse. They wanted to move her to another hospital but couldn't because of how serious her condition was.
"I was quite calm and quiet, but I could just feel a panic rising.
"When they showed me her X-rays I nearly passed out.
"I thought she was never going to walk again."
The Linthwaite Ardon Memorial J&I pupil had broken her pelvis in three places and one of the breaks was on the sacrum where the pelvis attaches to the spine.
Rachel added: "She was in a very bad way for the first two days and I didn't leave her side.
"She had an operation where they put a screw in her back to put the pelvis and spine back together."
The spent a further five weeks in hospital.
Rachel added: "The staff were superb. I can't speak highly enough of them. They were all fantastic.
"I virtually lived there for five weeks and they gave great support."
At the moment courageous Danielle uses a zimmer frame for getting around, although she will be using a wheelchair in school to prevent any slips or trips.
Rachel said: "Hopefully within the next two or three weeks she will start weight-bearing exercises which will see her on crutches.
"I hope she could be walking by the end of the summer. She is just superb."
Yesterday Danielle, who loves swimming and tae kwon do, started her first morning at school.
Proud Rachel added: "She's a very reflective girl but she's also out-going as well.
"She's talked quite a lot about her accident.
"She loves going to school and has a lot of friends - they all came to visit her.
"She gets frustrated because she wants to go swimming and do everything else she used to do."
Danielle, who baked buns for her classmates to celebrate her return, said: "I'm glad to be back at school.
"I enjoy it and enjoy seeing my friends and playing."
She added: "I want o get back to swimming and riding Gari, but I've got to take it slowly at the moment."
But the amazing youngster, who will be 11 two days before Christmas, said: "I want to be a doctor or a nurse when I grow up now because I saw what a great job they do."