“You still can’t have your horse back!!” I told them when they appeared in the door.
I was in the hospital.
My eye was black, along with my cheek, jaw, shoulder, hip, and knee.
The entire right side of my body had taken a beating in general and I was still waiting for the pile of X Rays to tell me just what was broken and what wasn’t.
“No you still can’t have him back!!” I repeated.
My friends looked at each other, gave a knowing nod and said, “She’s gonna be OK.”
Recently they had let me hop on one of their horses while they tried one I had for sale.
He was a white Arabian gelding, and always looked a little bit like he was running
away with his rider.
I never really thought he was that nice, or pretty, or even worth feeding honestly.
But the day I hopped on him bareback in a halter all that changed.
Before they knew it I was cantering figure 8s in the field, doing flying changes and hopping over cavallettis (did I mention bareback & in a halter?!)
Yep, that’s us in the photo! And I was in LOVE!
My friends had insisted I take him home, “the perfect match” they said.
I protested, but eventually the horse went home in my trailer, and became my “main ride”.
Every time I saw them afterwards, I reiterated that they could NOT have him back!!
One more photo of him.
Well, maybe just ONE more!!
Back to the hospital……….I was saying something about being dehydrated to the hospital team and needing fluids. It had been VERY hot, and I could feel myself turning rapidly into a corn flake.
Some lovely ER nurse tried to explain they didn’t want me to drink anything because they weren’t sure how broken I was and if the water would go somewhere it shouldn’t.
This sounded like complete nonsense to me, and I believe my response was, “If I were a DOG I’d have an IV by now!!!!!” (I was an emergency medicine veterinarian after all…………)
Doctors, <cough cough> are not known for being good patients.
nothing what I could, to change that stereotype.
I had been working night shifts for awhile. My favorite after work activity was to go home in the morning and ride before I went to bed. On this particular day a friend had come over to ride with me and we were happily trotting along when it happened.
What happened you ask?
What landed me in the hospital with (what turned out to be) about 25 fractures??
Hardly. There would be no purple heart for me.
We were trotting down the side of a gravel driveway. It was straight, it was flat.
wait for it………………..
My trusty horse…………….
I remember when he tripped I just put my hands forward on his mane to steady myself while he regained his feet. Which is what happens 99.99999999% of the time that a horse trips.
But he didn’t. He tripped, he went all the way to his knees, landed on his nose and then flopped over on his side.
Where was I during this feat of acrobatics?
I was still sitting on him!
I would say having a 900 lb horse land on you at 20mph is rather unpleasant but I don’t really remember that part.
I do remember sitting on the road and being completely BLIND! I couldn’t see anything!
And I was HOT! Oh my god I was burning up.
My friend was standing in front of me and I asked if she had any water.
She handed me her camel back which I promptly drained.
After handing it back I asked her
again if she had any water! (like I hadn’t just finished off all she had!)
My horse had gotten up, and was nuzzling me with his bloody nose (he had landed on it after all.)
I remember pulling off my helmet (which was no longer in one piece.)
I was sooooo HOT!!!
I pulled off the helmet………..
then I pulled off my shirt………….
and when I went for the sports bra, my friend intervened & told me I might want to leave that on!
By this time I had some vision back and was able to get up.
My friend had decided to take me to the nearest house for help. We were in the middle of no where and there was no cell phone signal. The nearest house was about 1/4 mile away and she asked me if I could walk or if I wanted to ride.
“Walk??!! Heck No!! I’m riding my horse!!!”
And much to her horror I
staggered, climbed back on my horse.
This propensity for incredibly injured riders to climb back on, likely has something to do with the rule changes our sport has enacted lately.
About half way to the house I was starting to notice the world spinning, and I’m pretty sure I slumped off my horse somewhere on the way. My friend was LEADING my horse. I’m sure I couldn’t be trusted not to gallop off.
The next thing I knew I was standing at the front door of this nice little old ladies house. She was wearing a flowered print, loose summer dress. She had all her windows open, lights off and ceiling fans going. (Funny the things I remember!)
and Half NAKED!
I can only imagine what she thought about the crazy horse back rider standing at her door in this condition. She was very nice and quickly sat me in a chair, brought me some ice and called 911.
The paramedics arrived eventually, and I still remember the interview.
Well……………. at least parts of it:
EMT: What’s your name?
Me: Not Sure………
EMT: What were you doing?
Me: Riding my horse!
EMT: How old are you?
Me: WHO cares?!!
EMT: What do you do for a living?
Me: I am an EMERGENCY Medicine Veterinarian!!
EMT: What day is it?
Me: No clue.
EMT to Hospital via radio: Definitely a head
case injury, transporting with C spine stabilization.
They tried to send a helicopter, but there was no where for it to land. So I got to ride in an ambulance strapped to a board on the twisty-curvy mountain road.
For those that haven’t experienced this particular joy, there is nothing quite like waking up strapped to a board.
I don’t recommend it as a “must have” experience.
In the end, I had shattered most of my face & eye socket, and terribly bruised the rest of my body. I felt extremely fortunate that I didn’t break anything I have to sit on or walk on.
I now have several plates and screws in my face and consider myself “bionic”.
Or perhaps I’ve been assimilated by the BORG!!
At least that’s what I TELL my horses about cross country jumps……………
…………..but they don’t listen.
After all, I am a BAD EVENTER……………