Five-star event rider Buck Davidson is recovering from surgery following a kick to the face on July 17.
“I had just finished galloping horses [at a friend’s track] and was putting horses on my big trailer, which has five on the inside and three on the back,” he said. “I put the first two in and put the butt bars up, then put the third one in and was going to put the butt bar up. The little pin wouldn’t go all the way down, so I wiggled it. I was always taught if you get kicked it’s your own fault. I was trying to stand to the side to put the pin in. It was just one of those things. It’s a super nice horse, super quiet, had just galloped. Maybe a bee stung him, maybe I scared him. I don’t even know what happened.
“It just sent me flying to the side of the trailer,” he continued. “I kneeled down and put my hands to my face, and it was a lot of blood. The two girls who work for me came around the corner, and both looked like they’d seen a ghost.”
Davidson, Unionville, Pennsylvania, went straight to the hospital and was diagnosed with a severely torn lip, broken nose, broken cheekbones in six places, a broken jawbone in two places, an injured eye socket, the roof of his mouth was split in half, and he lost several teeth. He did not have a concussion.
He had surgery July 24 to put in plates and screws. “I had what was called a Le Fort fracture, which means it’s all broken in a circle, and so nothing is actually attached to your skull,” he said. “They attached plates, and once they did that it felt way better. My nose was substantially off to the side, and the septum was really deviated. They straightened my nose, and that’s what really hurts now. I was lucky.”
Davidson will have to have his teeth fixed, but other than no bending over, no heavy lifting and no drinking water through a straw, he’s got the all-clear and plans to start riding this week.
“I went to Walmart and got a kid’s helmet with a faceguard, so I’ll wear that for a little bit to make sure I don’t get bashed in the face,” he said. “The swelling should take five to seven days.”
Davidson believes he’ll be ready for his next event at Fair Hill (Maryland) in 10 days.
“I’m always neurotic with people about not getting into a spot where you can get kicked,” he said. “It certainly wasn’t the horse’s fault. My face should not have been in the place where it was. Thankfully I’m here. There are people that have way worse things going on than what I have. It’s just annoying. I was finally feeling healthy for the first time in a few years. Such is life!”