Seen a couple of tragic things...saw a polo pony careen into another one and completely separate his shoulder from his body. I have heard a horse shriek in pain and I will, never, ever forget it and I hope I never, ever have to hear that again. Would that somehow I could prevent every single one of them from ever getting that hurt. Or even hurt at all. Also saw a horse and rider die jumping the wall in puissance. They just flipped over the top somehow. The rider was killed instantly (from what I could tell) but the horse suffered and had to be put down. I was catch riding a horse that day, the best horse I ever rode, but something like that will shake you up, especially if you're very young. I wasn't worried about myself, I had the ethical right to risk my OWN neck, what hung me up was - on what authority did I place such a fine trusting animal in harm's way? A horse can stumble and break a leg over 3', or for crap's sake, just cavort wrong in a meadow - but no matter how you rationalize you've got to admit, the odds get a lot worse when the fences start getting stratospheric. So that brought me right back to - not was I scared to go, but who made me god? Just because I COULD roll the dice for an innocent creature, did that mean I SHOULD? You can know sh!T happens to horses (the rider, I felt, was there by his own sentient choice) but until you really have to face it down, and then take those reins and point your good Ned's head at that bastard wall, it's just not real before. So I guess that's the scariest thing I've seen at a show - it was a big fat wall that had killed somebody. And my good boy got me over it.
I would have to say now, although I wasn't there personally, the videos of Darren's fall at Red Hills and then Laine's fall at Rolex are two of the scariest things I have seen even on video at a show/event.
The worst I ever saw was at the Evergreen Classic in either the very late 80s/early 90s. The show was still at Marymoor park. Robert Ridland rode in the Gran Prix, and got in funny to a very large, very airy oxer. The horse hit the back rail first with his front legs, locking the rail down onto the cups, then caught it with his back legs, again locking the rail down onto the cups. What are the chances of that!?!
Anyway, the horse went down, spasamed a couple of times and was still. I never did hear what happened, but Robert stayed for awhile with the horse (then protected from view by people holding coolers), then walked off the field, clearly dejected. It didn't take much to figure out that the horse had died. It was horrible.
The most amazing thing I ever saw was at Milner Downs in the very early 90s. A trainer was riding in the 3 foot ring through a 2-stride. The horse stumbled on landing off the first fence, flinging the rider. She hit hard and rolled, the momentem rolling her right under the oxer, which the horse proceeded to jump!
Those of you from Ontario might remember this. A few summers ago at the Collingwood Horse Show there were a bunch of horses in the warm up ring. Two girls going opposite directions ran into each other head on. I'm not exactly sure what the injuries were but at least one girl was hospitalized, and her horse was injured and severely traumatized. I was at the same barn as it the winter after and it had recovered enough to walk around, but it would freak out if it saw another horse coming towards it within 30 feet.
The worst thing that has happened to me personnally was a few years ago. I was at the provincial championships in the warm up ring. It was really muddy but we weren't too worried, the mare had studs and the footing didn't seem too bad. I guess we were wrong because as she was taking off her back feet slipped and she caught the top rail and went down. She landed on her side on top of my leg but fortunately since it was muddy my leg sunk in the mud and then just slid right out. Neither of us were hurt, just sore, but I've never seen a horse that muddy, caked on head to toe...even her eyelid. Everyone was asking me if I was ok since I looked like I had taken a mud bath, I ended up throwing out the pants because I couldn't get the stains out.
I actually rmember BOTH of these events as i was there and saw both...
Im so glad you were ok. Its looked like a nasty fall, but im glad it looked orse then it really was. I remember saying oh my gosh, its going to take a lot to get all that mud out.
Many years ago, my horse was in a horrible trailer wreck. He was in a four horse stock trailer, and he and the horse in front got to nipping back and forth. They got the trailer swinging and jackknifed it and flipped it at 55 mph on the freeway. The other 3 horses got out okay - just really cut up - but he was pinned in the wreckage on his side and trying to kick himself free. They had to cut the top of the trailer off to get him out.
I still have the newspaper article. The paramedics said they gave him 'enough sedatives to knock the whole city of Everett out'. Amazingly, aside from some really nasty cuts, he was fine. He never hauled very well after that, and he always needed a double stall when shipping from then on.