Eventer Colleen Rutledge, who broke her hip in a fall at the Morven Park Horse Trials (Va.) on Oct. 5 has been released from the hospital after surgery. Rutledge is recovering at her Mt. Airy, Md., home.
As of Oct. 11, Rutledge is resting at home and has already started physical therapy. After eight to 12 weeks of being non-weight bearing, she’ll know more about when she can get back in the tack. She predicted it would be after the first of the year.
Rutledge, 35, has ridden her Shiraz to clean cross-country rounds at the Rolex Kentucky, Pau, Burghley and Badminton CCI****s, but had a fall from a preliminary horse, Siren’s Call at Morven Park.
Rutledge, of Mt. Airy, Md., explained the circumstances behind the fall on her Facebook page. “It was a simple, slightly downhill table. She had been slightly overly aggressive at the previous fences and was no different to this one,” Rutledge said.
“She objected to me asking her to slow down as we were approaching, and as we reached the fence, rather than balancing and jumping up and around with both front legs, she braced and twisted catching her front right. I’m not sure what side hit first, but we definitely both hit the ground, where my air vest deployed and regular vest prevented any major internal injuries. Somehow she rolled over my head, because there is a dent on the visor of my helmet.”
Rutledge said that Siren’s Call sustained just minor scrapes, stiffness and bruising in the fall but is sound and healthy.
“The force of the fall dislocated my left hip, causing an acetabular fracture,” she continued. “Other than that, I’ve just got some bumps and bruises, and I’m a bit stiff today. I’m so thankful for the safety equipment that I have, truly believing that it prevented me from having greater injuries. Thank you to all of the people who helped me and got me taken care of in a timely manner.”
Rutledge underwent successful surgery on Oct. 8. She had planned to compete Covert Rights at the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.) on Oct. 16-20 but will withdraw.
Rutledge plans to have other riders keep Covert Rights, or “C.R.,” and Shiraz in light work. “’C.R.’s’ quite fit,” she said. “We’re letting him down with lots of hacking and some light work, because being a rambunctious youngster, he thinks that he can get himself into trouble. [Shiraz] is probably going to do dressage boot camp.”
Rutledge decided to retire Siren’s Call from the preliminary level after the fall and gave the ride back to her previous owner, Chuck Orbell, to compete at the unrecognized lower levels.
“I was willing to put forth energy into her as long as she was willing to play the game and then as soon as she said she doesn’t want to play the game she doesn’t have to,” said Rutledge. “This was a fairly big statement of ‘I don’t want to play the game.’”
“It happens,” she said. “I’m really lucky in the fact that this is the really and truly the first time in 25 years [of eventing that] I’ve been taken off in an ambulance. It’s only the second bone I’ve broken.”
Cards can be sent to Colleen Rutledge, 6953 A Linganore Rd., Frederick MD 21701