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I'm starting to get a bit spooked.....

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  • I'm starting to get a bit spooked.....

    All this talk of injury....

    In the last six weeks three people I know personally have had bad riding accidents. One suffered a TBI and broken ribs. Next one broken ribs. Third one broke two vertebrae, had surgery and will be in a back brace adn not riding for six months.

    I had been a fairly fearless rider until I hit my forties. I started racetrack bound two year olds for a friend. I took OTTB's for their first trail rides. I have evented (and broken a few transverse processes by the time I was done). I have ridden just started WB's. Other than the one back injury and one jammed sacroiliac I have remained virtually unscathed.

    But now, with my friends' injuries and this about CKD and others...I am really starting to think an inordinate amount about getting hurt. My current horse is safe and sane and virtually never spooks. As a matter of fact, he has never even bucked once under saddle.

    I think I would be horribly depressed if I stopped riding but I am a middle aged mother. Guilt and fear are creeping in around the edges. I beat them back but they keep sneaking in.

    Have they visited anyone else? How do we beat them back for good?

  • #2
    I live with this daily. I've seen others get injured and have had one very bad fall myself that resulted in 6 weeks out of work and some permanent damage. Am also in my mid-40s although I do not have kids, so that makes it easier.

    Sometimes, with fears like this, you have to acknowledge them and go on. I've also curtailed some less-safe riding activities like jumping or trail riding alone.

    If you really get stuck and don't mind spending some money, the Jane Savoie "Freedom from Fear" program is quite good.

    Good luck!
    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

    Comment


    • #3
      I hear ya.

      I guess I feel that as I age, my odds of getting hurt, having something bad happen in general (health, accident etc) are increasing daily.

      I don't think you can beat it back for good. You just have to remind yourself that bad things happen to good people, and we won't live trouble free for ever. So you have to make up your mind if you want to take a chance or stay in the house. Today may be your last day. Don't you want to spend it riding?
      ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

      Comment


      • #4
        I am just a novice rider (into horses by 5 years or so), but I just want to pose a question: How many riders that get into bad accidents were riding their tried and true mount, such as your guy seems to be (level-headed/trustworthy, relatively speaking)? If you are riding a strange horse or even your own newer, relatively unfamiliar horse it seems more likely that there will be a problem, but what if you tend to stick to the horse you know like the back of your own hand?

        You have already ridden a zillion horses and that has made you the rider you are today, I am not saying it is good to stick to one horse in one's formative years. But since I am an older adult amateur, I do wonder about safety factors and it seems to me that your chances of an accident would be lessened if you have A) a fairly steady, level-headed mount and B) you stick to YOUR HORSE, the one you know so well, the one you can anticipate (what his reactions will be) and conversely, the one who knows YOU so well.

        Just posing the question to see if it might hold up to your/others' experience? But not meaning to hi-jack the thread or anything. What kind of horses were your friends on?

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm a bit older, late 50s. I no longer trail ride alone and am, to put it bluntly, a chicken. I never had the experience as a youngster of galloping across open fields bareback on a feisty pony, and admit that I fell off a *lot* when I was first learning (<10 yrs old). When I evented as a young adult, I did things that frankly really scared me, and I bear the mental/emotional scars for it today. (for all that, my worst-ever fall was warming up at a dressage show).

          I don't have a whole lot of desire to get rid of the fear entirely. I try to be wise about situations that make me uncomfortable and am very careful about what I will get on these days. I try to push the envelope a little here and there. I've really enjoyed learning some horsemanship stuff that helps me to evaluate the state of my horses from the ground; there are times & situations where I won't get on. I know my two horses pretty well and err on the safe side.

          As you get older, you become more conscious of what can happen. Sometimes, that knowledge gets to you, sometimes you can keep it at bay.

          And in the end, I know that $hit happens. I hope to avoid it, I try to avoid it, but if it catches up with me ... well, I'm not going to sit on the sidelines waiting for it, but life is life.
          "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

          Spay and neuter. Please.

          Comment


          • #6
            My BFF and long time riding buddy, fell off her horse and broke her hip a few months back. It was a freak accident, but not the first time she went off her horse...... It really sat in my brain for quite a few times when I rode after that.....but I rarely think much about it now.

            I will be the first to admit that I am a timid rider, always have been, always will be. I am very careful and do not over mount myself..... My mare is safe, sound and quiet, but that does not mean that "it" could not happen to me at any time..... I accept that but do not dwell on it... Being a "Jane Savoie" groupie, I make sure to focus on the positive ( "I have a secure seat"), not the negative ("I will NOT fall off")....... QuietAnn already recommended the JS program and I LIVE by it!!!

            Nothing wrong with being a bit afraid as long as it does not run your life......
            We do not have an overpopulation of dogs, we have an under population of responsible dog owners!!!

            Comment


            • #7
              I certainly hear you. In fact just yesterday my friend fell off right in front of me and hurt her back, though thankfully nothing severe. It is certainly a risky sport, and the fact that you are a mother (as am I) makes the fear much more real. So I do the best I can to minimize the risk. I wear a helmet, I don't ride at lightning paces anymore, and I found myself a horse that is oh so worthy of my trust. Accidents can always happen, but a fair percentage come from people being overmounted.

              If I'm in a sticky situation I'll always tuck my pride away, dismount, and lead the horse through it. There will be tomorrow to try again. (I never would have gotten off as a teen). I think minimizing the risks as best you can is a start. But beyond that you have to realize that life itself is a risk. And I want to spend my days enjoying and loving my horse and the sport that is so dear to my heart.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think dwlover is on the right track.....

                As you get older you get smarter and don't try to be the hero anymore. I don't even want to remember some of the things I did on horse-back when I was younger. Being fearless sometimes equal being stupid, but you tend to get away with it more when you're young.
                Siegi Belz
                www.stalleuropa.com
                2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
                Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.

                Comment


                • #9
                  and another angle to think about. you can be doing ordinary mundane things and really badly injure yourself.
                  i was walking my dog. (supposedly a healthy activity to engage in especially since the dog was being perfect!) and i slipped and fell on a patch of ice that i didnt know was there. it was dark and the sidewalk had supposedly been cleared. we do have street lights, but i didnt see it.
                  i now have the worst injury to date that i ever have had. i have spiral fractures of the tibia and fibula. i ended up in the hospital for 4 days and had a rod inserted from my knee to my ankle. its a major surgery and a major setback for my riding. aside from being very painful its very debilitating. i am not working due to my leg swells when i do not have it elevated and its very uncomfortable.
                  and guess what? i am dreaming for the day i get the green light to ride again. its what makes living worth living for!!! i accept the risk, because without riding i feel like life is really boring. its been really boring to me and i am five weeks post surgery. i just cant wait to get back out there.
                  so my point is, you can get severely injured doing things that are not risky. so why give up on something you love. just hope that if you do get injured you are surrounded by good doctors to care for you and good friends. my friends have been wonderful. they call me to cheer me up and i at least feel lucky that i will re cooperate hopefully some time in the future.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think being aware and being careful is just fine. I have a friend at the barn who has a new horse, and at a recent show we both attended her new horse was being spooky at a ring-side tent while she was trotting around waiting for the bell, so right there with all eyes on her (judge included!) she dismounted and quietly led the horse up to the spooky area, then remounted when she felt her horse was "over it" and went on to win the class with an upper-60's percentile! Of course this was while she was waiting to go in for her test. I've seen her ride through some fireworks during tests, too. She knows she can do it, but didn't see the need to be a hero while she was just waiting for her bell.

                    I asked her about it later and she said she wasn't about to let her pride create a situation where she got dumped, and this being one of her new horse's first shows, she wanted to make it positive for the horse as well! That's a GREAT example of being careful, but not being *scared*… I think careful and knowing your limits is great.

                    I'll ride through most things honestly, and I am also a mom myself on a relatively "hot" horse, but that's just me. I admire the lady I talked about above for knowing exactly what she's comfortable with, and then getting right back on and putting in a great ride on her new horse!
                    Last edited by esdressage; Mar. 22, 2010, 05:15 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      i had a really bad fall last Sunday on my brand new dream horse. He fell on my arm and i had to be carted to the emergency room. Its not broken but was intensely painful and is very black and blue right now and is virtually useless (just typing is a huge improvement).

                      Thankfully i was wearing my helmet, as i felt a thunk on my head when he went down, from a hoof or knee or something. I am pretty much uninjured except the arm.

                      The thing about it is i was already nervous on this horse. He had bolted once before and dumped me and this was the second time he bolted with me. I actually think i woudl have stayed on and he would have stopped this time but he slipped and fell. Now i'm trying to decide if i will have the nerve to ride him going forward, or if i need to sell him. Its tough and i don't know what to do, so i'm just taking it one day at a time. I can dissect the ride - he was still very nervous, he was tense, i pulled on him and i know that upsets him, etc. I know that if i ride well and all the stars line up correctly it won't happen, but what about the days that it doesn't? i can hope that i learn to ride it better and/or that he grows out of it but you can't stop the freak accidents.

                      Also a 40-something mother, i've been riding my whole life and have never been hurt like this before.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mozart View Post
                        All this talk of injury....

                        In the last six weeks three people I know personally have had bad riding accidents. One suffered a TBI and broken ribs. Next one broken ribs. Third one broke two vertebrae, had surgery and will be in a back brace adn not riding for six months. . . .

                        But now, with my friends' injuries and this about CKD and others...I am really starting to think an inordinate amount about getting hurt. My current horse is safe and sane and virtually never spooks. As a matter of fact, he has never even bucked once under saddle.

                        I think I would be horribly depressed if I stopped riding but I am a middle aged mother. Guilt and fear are creeping in around the edges. I beat them back but they keep sneaking in.

                        Have they visited anyone else? How do we beat them back for good?
                        I have it all the time - I am ~ 5'4" tall with a 17 hh horse. He's been a pretty "Steady Eddie" all the time I've owned him - in fact, the only reason that I considered buying him was because he was "safe."

                        That being said, he is now fitter than when I first got him and he's spun on me a couple of times. That makes me nervous and reluctant to get on him. I've finally decided that the only way to combat this is to just get on - even if only to wander around the arena at a walk - every chance I get.

                        I've discussed this fear with my trainer and she's admitted that she also is afraid at times. The trick is not to let the *horse* know that you are afraid.
                        Riding - the art of keeping your horse between you and the ground.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          A friend of mine, roughly the same age, fell and broke her arm and sacrum while we were riding in a lesson. I took her to the ER (and then to another hospital), heard her scream when she was getting x-rays and watched her recover (she was off work for 6 months) and it certainly made an impression on me. In fact, her accident had a greater effect on me than a fall I had had a year previously (no broken bones, but really bad internal bruising that took over a year to fully resolve, but I was back riding in about 3 weeks).

                          It took me a good long while to shake the fear I had from watching her accident and it still comes back sometimes.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TSWJB View Post
                            and another angle to think about. you can be doing ordinary mundane things and really badly injure yourself.
                            i was walking my dog. (supposedly a healthy activity to engage in especially since the dog was being perfect!) and i slipped and fell on a patch of ice that i didnt know was there. it was dark and the sidewalk had supposedly been cleared. we do have street lights, but i didnt see it.
                            i now have the worst injury to date that i ever have had. i have spiral fractures of the tibia and fibula. i ended up in the hospital for 4 days and had a rod inserted from my knee to my ankle. its a major surgery and a major setback for my riding. aside from being very painful its very debilitating. i am not working due to my leg swells when i do not have it elevated and its very uncomfortable.
                            and guess what? i am dreaming for the day i get the green light to ride again. its what makes living worth living for!!! i accept the risk, because without riding i feel like life is really boring. its been really boring to me and i am five weeks post surgery. i just cant wait to get back out there.
                            so my point is, you can get severely injured doing things that are not risky. so why give up on something you love. just hope that if you do get injured you are surrounded by good doctors to care for you and good friends. my friends have been wonderful. they call me to cheer me up and i at least feel lucky that i will re cooperate hopefully some time in the future.
                            Yup, I spent 11 weeks NWB after I broke my ankle....slipping in the GARAGE! I don't even have a good story to tell.

                            I don't ride alone and try to remember to carry my cell phone wherever I go. I would have been in serious trouble if I had been alone without a cell phone when I fell. As it was the ER doc was very impressed with the way we iced and wrapped the ankle for the drive to the hospital.

                            Sophie is as safe as any 1400 lb equine can be. I don't ride anything I have doubts about and I'm real picky about footing

                            I do both cardio and strength training so even if I am overweight I'm fit and flexible.

                            Umm, and I'm older than anyone here has admitted to being....I'm 60
                            I wasn't always a Smurf
                            Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
                            "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                            The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              There's a thread (older) over on the riding with disabilities forum...

                              It's normal--our brain really doesn't want it's host to be hurt or worse...

                              But the fear itself can make accidents happen as we all know. If *I* am nervous, then the horse is looking for dragons everywhere...

                              I don't have ANY answers. I didn't realize how much fear I was carrying around until the day I got on my baby for the first time, (successfully--but that's another story ) and she schooched just a bit, and I gave rein and grabbed the pommel and laughed. And it was a glorious revelation.

                              The fear creeps in, insiduously, over time... I had SEEN a bunch of bad acccidents... mine were minorish, but I was coming back from VERY painful but non-horse injuries, and a couple of bouts of too much time off.

                              My teachers got pretty mad at me one time, at a teacher's workshop when I was working through it. They thought I should've gotten on a horse that I was student-teaching a lesson on... only I've SEEN that horse go, but never ridden him. Young, sensitive, athletic, and hot as a pistol. I've seen riders clamp on and get run off with, and I've seen riders come off him. They said I should've gotten on him to correct the issue the rider was having, then the rider would have success... I finally admitted I thought he was too hot and light for me to ride, and they really came down on me pretty hard. It was the beginning of the turning point. They said "Fear has NO PLACE in the arena. Few emotions do, but fear has NO place. If you are afraid you shouldn't even be in the ring."

                              It was a harsh, cut and dried answer, but the one *I* needed at the moment. They were right. And while I think that working through fear is important too--at MY point, the place where *I* was, it was time to fish or cut bait.

                              It wasn't an immediate transformation, but I understood that the horse needs me to be the brave one. The confident one.

                              And then, I think the rest of it boils down to this: Life is short. I might just as soon crash the vehicle, or trip down the stairs, or get shot by a bad guy... When my time is up, it's up. If that comes while I'm on a horse--so much the better. It is my greatest passion in life. And one can do worse than that.
                              InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                              Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                she said she wasn't about to let her pride create a situation where she got dumped, and this being one of her new horse's first shows, she wanted to make it positive for the horse as well! That's a GREAT example of being careful, but not being *scared*… I think careful and knowing your limits is great.
                                This.
                                InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I had a TBI from a horse fall when I was 17. I was in a coma for 4.5 days. I still have short term memory and seasonal depression problems from it. I was jumping in a grass warmup under a trainer's supervision and my horse cartwheeled over a misplaced pole hidden by the grass. I wasn't injured from the fall, but she stepped on my head when getting up and cracked my helmet in half. This was a horseshow in Naperville, IL. I remember waking up in the regional trauma center and protesting as they were cutting my dehners off me (that I earned myself). I do not remember anything after that except dreams and waking up in Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. I apparently was transported there when I fell into coma. I still have the helmet, btw.

                                  The other day, it was 70 degrees outside and I gave my horse the first bath of the year (after she gave herself a mud bath treatment). I was walking her outside and a little gust kicked up and she was a little bit full of herself. I was thinking that the whole thing with horses is dangerous. What is a nose shank going to do if the horse decides it needs to vamoose?

                                  All that said, I just learned that one of our local trainers, whom I had seen in my last schooling show doing her first grand prix test on her up and coming horse, has broken her leg and will be out for the season. She did this slipping on ice.

                                  You can't bubble wrap your horse; and you can't bubble wrap your life. You can take reasonable precautions (see nose shank above; helmets; gloves, etc.). Most of the time I've been hurt, it's because of a stupid mistake, either mine or someone else's. Prevent what you can; for the rest, have faith and live your life.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Everything on this thread has been great. I used to gallop racehorses and was scared to death every single day. I was literally shaking the entire time I was at the barn, and then I would come home and obsessively google racehorse accidents. Not good. But I made myself stick with it and finally got comfortable with it. Heck, I got good! The BO even offered to start paying me per horse! I was so excited! That very day, I got dumped. Bad. My horse sucked back at high speed, I flew off, and hit a post with my back. Fractured my pelvis and ruptured several discs. It was devastating. I couldn't ride for a long time, and the fear built up with every week out of the saddle.

                                    When I got back on my fairly steady TB, she was nutty and herd-sour from her time off. I was weak from the injury and weak with fear, and I questioned whether this was the right sport for me. I sat down and did a lot of soul searching over the next few weeks, and I realized the following: life is fragile. Too fragile, in fact, to not follow my dreams. My life would be joyless without horses, and I could still be struck down at any time. I had to make the decision to stop letting fear rob me of one of the best parts of my life.

                                    I still feel the fear creeping up here and there, but I remind myself that the risk of injury is worth the joy I feel every day riding my horses. If I have to go someday, I want to go out happy. And I can't do that unless I'm riding.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I am also in my 40's. I grew up in Pony Club and evented through Intermediate, with several horses, until about 10 years ago. I had no fear! I decided to breed my then 19 year old mare, otherwise I would have continued eventing her. A very good friend of mine was killed at Radnor in 1998 when the horse he was riding misjudged a jump and fell on him. My whole perspective changed about riding and eventing in particular. I have to say it was never the same after that. I think that was part of the reason I decided to breed my mare, so that I too could take a break from the sport. I did break and jump the filly, but it was not quite the same. My mare was fearless and a super jumper. The baby was a chicken...or maybe it was me?? Now, 10 years later I am on a 7 year old gelding that doesn't like to jump. I tried it once, just a crossrail, and ended up on the ground. Just a bruised hip, but a very bruised pride! I decided at the time that I was done jumping, as I also had a young daughter. Not to say that my horse isn't stupid sometimes, but I rode him for the first year in my cross country vest...everyday! He still likes to make sure everyone is paying attention to him at dressage shows in the warm-up, but not always in a good way! I become "one of those riders"! We all have fears in life (I hate to fly), so I think if we do the best we can to stay safe and aware that we are dealing with a live animal that can be unpredictable, we are that much better off in the long run.
                                      Mirror Image 2001-2007

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by pintopiaffe View Post
                                        The fear creeps in, insiduously, over time...
                                        That's the thing, isn't it? I'm sure for someone who has had a bad fall the fear can come on suddenly but I have been extremely lucky and have had only a couple bad falls and none for a long time now. There was another point, several years ago, when I was starting to get worried about falling off. I hadn't fallen in literally years and I had built falling off into a big deal. Then I fell off as a result of a dirty run out. And you know, it wasn't that bad. I was a bit sore the next day but it turned out to be not a big deal.

                                        Now with my friends' accidents and other high profile incidents I am starting to wonder...what would my family do if I was badly hurt? My husband and I have a lot of responsibilities and it would all fall on him. Will my family think..."How selfish of you. Instead of helping you are now adding to the burden"

                                        On the other hand, as some of you have correctly pointed out, you can get hurt doing innocuous daily things. I have broken a leg slipping on ice too.

                                        And, as others have said, life can be unpredictably short. I had a cancer scare in my early 30's, but for some unrelated medical tests that revealed an ovarian tumour...I would probably be dead.

                                        So logic suggests that you can't give up what you love on the off chance you will be injured. I think if I actually asked my husband if I should give up riding due to the risk he would say "give your head a shake and go to the barn".

                                        Thanks all, I needed a little pep talk

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