Grand Prix dressage rider Silva Martin has returned home to Cochranville, Pa., to begin rehabilitation after a fall on March 5 sent her to the hospital with a serious head injury.
Martin, 34, was riding in Wellington, Fla., when her horse tripped. Although she was wearing a helmet, she was knocked unconscious on the horse’s neck as she fell.
Scans showed bleeding in her brain, and over a period of days she regained consciousness and her ability to speak, but she’s still dealing with effects of the injury, including a loss of balance and vision impairments.
Martin’s husband, four-star eventer Boyd Martin, suffered a broken leg in a fall at the Carolina International on March 23 in Raeford, N.C. He returned home on March 24 to find her in good spirits.
“I hadn’t seen her for 10 days,” said Boyd. “I must say she’s improved out of sight. Her speech is getting better and better and her balance and eyesight are still improving, but not at the same rate as her speech. The prognosis is very good. She’s undergoing seven hours of therapy every day at the Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Clinic.
“Our household is a little bit comical with Silva with a walking frame and me on my crutches,” he joked. “We’ve got our German nurse, [Silva’s mother] Mrs. Stigler, looking after the both of us, so it’s great to have family here just because our immediate families are never really in the country.”
Boyd and Silva are planning to find other riders to keep their horses in shape while they’re recovering.
“She’s got a wonderful group of staff that will be able to keep the younger horses humming along,” said Boyd. “I think Silva has a long challenge ahead of her. In the line of work we’re in, we have to be positive and optimistic, but also realistic. Without question, I think she’s going to make a full recovery. George Morris went to visit her and rang me and said, ‘It doesn’t matter if she misses one show or five shows or if she can’t ride for two months or six months, as long as she gets better.’ I thought that was a very smart way of putting it. She will get better. Everything was just starting to really come together for her, and this has been a real hurdle for her, but she’s a relentless competitor, and I think in a way this will make her even stronger.”