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Big Changes ahead for me after a simple fall and horrible injuries, opinions please..

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  • Big Changes ahead for me after a simple fall and horrible injuries, opinions please..

    I really need some feedback, primarily from adult riders that responsibilities and children at home.
    Here are the facts
    I am a 30 Year + rider came up throught the junior medals, hunters on the A circuit.
    I had a lot of success the last two years in the 1.0 m jumpers and jumper medal on my own horse.
    I took on a new challenge this year with an opportunity to ride a very very nice 4 year old mare and go back to the hunter ring. This mare is 16 2, great feet, recently vetted getting the all clear. She is smart and super laid back and friendly.

    Now the problem
    Out of no where last week I was warming up, relaxed trot down the long side then the next thing I know I'm on the ground. I don't remember what happened but I have been told that she tripped, I got launched forward, she tripped again, I came off and then she went down on me with her shoulder pinning me against the wall. I couldn't get up in terrible pain having trouble getting a good breath. Coach called 911, I was put on a board and transported to the hospital. I have a badly broken collar bone. Apparently I would of died if I hadn't been wearing my helmet.

    I have a job, I have two small children. I have a husband who is trying to be supportive. I have a true deep passion for this crazy sport we do. Now I'm scared to death to ride. Even just flat work. What the heck to I do. The barn is my happy place, my social life, a good part of my identity.

    Has anyone else been in this situation? What do I do???Help please.

  • #2
    Safety vest has helped me physically and emotionally just knowing its there.
    I understand those types of accidents happen and a vest probably wouldn't change your injuries but for me it gave me a little more confidence just knowing it was there.

    Hang in there!


    • #3
      Not that I've had a bad accident like that but I do feel more mortal now that I have kids! I used to ride just about anything and break in young horses, now I have no desire for that. What about getting on something older and more reliable? I know any horse can trip but it might help get you back into it. Give it time too, a break from riding will probably help you get your desire back! All it will take is one good ride and you will feel much better.


      • #4
        Another vote for wearing a safety vest and getting an older, reliable, packer.


        • #5
          I think just having young children makes you feel very vulnerable. I was terrified to fly when our daughters were young, but now that they are young adults and can care for themselves, I love to fly! I've had bad falls and the safety vest for a while is a good idea, ditto a new helmet. Get a new one every time the current one hits the ground. Support your horse a bit more to help it keep balance and you'll be all set. Bad things can happen out of the blue in every area of life. I think once you heal, you'll want to get back to the barn!

          Diane Halpin/Laurel Leaf Hanoverians: Facebook
          Last edited by dianehalpin; Mar. 6, 2013, 09:37 PM. Reason: omitted a word


          • #6
            Riding is the least of your problems right now. Just heal. Take care of yourself.

            You might feel very differently in a few months after your bones heal and you start getting your strength back.

            Get better.
            A helmet saved my life.

            2017 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!


            • #7
              You don't ride for awhile because you're injured and have to recover. Then see how you feel.
              Right now, you are in physical and mental shock. You're probably taking pain medication, too, that can affect your thinking. It's no time to be making decisions. Your emotions will change a lot in the next weeks.
              If you need to, go see a real counselor, do that, maybe go with yr husband to talk about what you're both comfortable with as far as yr riding.
              Calm down. If you were driving and skidded on ice and had a wreck, would you be thinking, "OMG I have to give up driving forever."


              • #8
                Originally posted by AKB View Post
                Another vote for wearing a safety vest and getting an older, reliable, packer.
                With the type of incident the OP is describing, how would an older, reliable packer make a difference? Not trying to be snarky, but any horse can trip.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by FatDinah View Post
                  Calm down. If you were driving and skidded on ice and had a wreck, would you be thinking, "OMG I have to give up driving forever."
                  ^ Good point.

                  I tore my ACL falling off a horse for a silly reason (i.e. I wasn't paying attention in the warm-up) and it ruined my confidence. Two years later and I'm still struggling to get back to where I was before the accident. It will take time, but don't give up. I can't imagine my life without horses. I challenged myself to take on a retraining project because I got tired of trucking around on packers and not seeing a confidence improvement.

                  Everything, from riding to driving to work, has risks involved. You can't protect yourself from all possible dangers, so don't give up on your passion!


                  • #10
                    Been there--I had the same kind of accident! My mare tripped and the next thing I knew, I was on the ground (or so I was told). Nothing broken, but I had a terrible concussion--lost a whole day. Just a few years later, I had a really bad crash at a jump. 4 surgeries, 9 months off a horse, big medical bills, time off work...the whole shebang. I struggled with going back to riding, had a lot of fear and anxiety, as well as the "should I!!?" feelings. While I don't have kids, I have lots of obligations to family and work. I took it slow, and decided to go back to riding on the same horse who dropped me in an oxer. I wear a safety vest, every ride. I wear a helmet, every ride. If my inner warning light goes off (footing is bad, horse is high, spooky environment) I stop or gear down.

                    Take time. Take care. Take stock of your inner happiness. Then take more time. I've learned to make no snap decisions. Hugs to you!
                    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                    • #11
                      Give it time. It's so recent you're still in shock. Take a week or 10 days away from the barn, and then just go out and say hi. If you can't remember exactly what happened, likely you were concussed and need some time off the horse anyway (not to mention the broken collarbone!).

                      Use your recovery time to remember there's more to your life than horses, but don't worry - you *will* want to get back on again, eventually. As everyone else has said, take your time, and don't push yourself. Riding is an integral part of who you are, but it's not the _entirety_, and you'll be back to it in time.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tha Ridge View Post
                        With the type of incident the OP is describing, how would an older, reliable packer make a difference? Not trying to be snarky, but any horse can trip.
                        I didn't post this, ^ but I think what was meant is getting packer IN GENERAL may help OP feel better about riding all together, safer. True, any horse can trip.
                        “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                        ¯ Oscar Wilde


                        • #13
                          There are psychologists out there who specialize speaking with horseback riders. It might be a good idea to give one a call just to have some immediate and interactive feedback as you heal. I second the other posters who have said any horse could have tripped and if you got in a car accident it wouldn't keep you from driving, however that doesn't make countering the mental blocks and anxieties any easier! For now, focus on healing and your family. Make the effort to continue your routine of going to the barn, but only do what you're comfortable with. If one day you just want to graze your horse and chat with friends or walk around the property/ring for 5 min then do that! Bonding time with your horse will help you ease back into the saddle. My trainer has a riding psychologist she has referred students to before and she helped them get through tough times in the ring or prepare for big shows. If you're interested, I can try to get her name. Good luck to you!!


                          • #14
                            You can have SO much fun with you horse without riding him. During the time that you're healing (mentally, physically, emotionally), do something completely different. It can be very rewarding. Plus, the relationship you develop with your horse will make you feel better about getting on him when you're ready.

                            I'm really sorry this happened to you.
                            I have a Fjord! Life With Oden


                            • #15
                              There's no rush to get back in the saddle! When my hot Arab mare dumped me and broke my entire body, I said "enough." I retired her from under saddle and spent months teaching her parlor tricks with the clicker. She is now my favorite horse of all time; we are an inseparable pair. Eventually I got a warmblood packer to ride and now everybody's happy.
                              Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by iccir View Post
                                Has anyone else been in this situation? What do I do???Help please.
                                Find Jody Jaffe's articles here in the Chronicle archives. She's been where you're at and she's back in the saddle but it was not a short simple trip, but she made it and so can you! Kick on!
                                ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
                                Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

                                "Life is merrier with a terrier!"


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Cindyg View Post
                                  You can have SO much fun with you horse without riding him. During the time that you're healing (mentally, physically, emotionally), do something completely different. It can be very rewarding. Plus, the relationship you develop with your horse will make you feel better about getting on him when you're ready.

                                  I'm really sorry this happened to you.
                                  @OP: I can give you lots of suggestions on things to do with your horse that don't involve riding. Things that will be fun for you and the horse and provide bonding time. I've taught my horse a lot of "tricks" that have translated to useful activities under saddle. PM me if you'd like some ideas.


                                  • #18
                                    I fell off my horse several years ago and broke my shoulder blade in half. I had to sleep sitting up in a chair for six weeks, during which time I had lots of time to get really scared of riding again. My children were 8 and 14, and my husband had just been diagnosed with cancer. So I completely get the fear of getting hurt again when you have so many people depending on you. I would wake up in a cold sweat, fearful and sad.

                                    What got me through it was getting back to the barn as soon as I could, just to pet my horse and smell that smell. As others have said, loving horses isn't usually just about riding them. And because my horse wasn't the issue, he really was a sweetheart..I'd just fallen off after a jump..I felt like I could get back on him, but I only walked him around for weeks, timing my ride for when my trainer or her assistant had worked him so I knew he'd be tired and mellow and ready to mosey around. That helped a lot. I did a lot of hand grazing, visualizing riding him successfully and happily. When the fear would creep in, I'd picture myself on him, lazily trotting, counting 1-2-1-2.

                                    It's been years since that fall and I'm still riding, still have two horses at home, and not afraid. I've fallen since, too, which actually helped me, too. I fell and didn't get hurt -- much!-- and was able to get right back on. Don't get me wrong, I'm cautious, and I don't take unnecessary risks, but you can overcome the fear.


                                    • #19
                                      Just remember you had thousands upon thousands of GOOD rides stacked up under your belt when you had that one bad one. When you get back on, the odds of you having a good ride are overwhelmingly in your favor. Remember that.

                                      And yes, it is like driving a car after having a horrible accident. No one would even think of just not driving anymore as a coping mechanism. That's silly, of course you have to drive!

                                      Well we feel the same about riding, don't we?
                                      Last edited by Sswor; Mar. 7, 2013, 02:41 AM.
                                      Power to the People


                                      • #20
                                        Don't have kids, but do work(no SO). About 20 years ago I had a bad fall, totally freak. I was riding around the ring at a canter and one of the kids was having a problem with her pony. I made a comment to her like sit up- something really simple. In that split second of turning slightly to comment to her. I apparently cued my horse to get closer to the rail. My foot caught on the end of a board and the pressure of being caught between the board and my horse's side sprung the board off the post. It hit my horse hard in the side which made him scoot abrubtly to the inside about 10 feet. I stayed on, but accidently gooched him with a spur and he bucked. I hit the ground hard. Found my glasses which had flown off, got up and caught my horse and walked up to the barn. When I got there I was feeling a little queasy. Had one of the kids put my horse up for me. I realized I had injured my right arm as the elbow of my shirt was completely torn out. One of the mom's was going to drive me to the hospital until they saw my arm. They called 911. By this time I had thrown a horse blanket on the floor in the aisle and was laying down. I was put on a back board with neck collar and transported to the teaching hospital where I work. Outcome was that I blown out the tissue on my elbow and loosening all the skin from underlying tissue almost to my wrist. In the exam they also found a huge bruise on my right hip and found that I had broken my hip.After two surgeries and a week in the hospital and 3 months on crutches I was afraid. I did make my self get back on my horse for a few minutes the first day I was off crutches and just walk around. Then for a couple of months I rode my trainer's packer school horse to get my strength and confidence back. I ended up selling the horse I was injured on as he was just too big for me with my shortish legs and also a little too much in the energy level and got a different horse. It took me a long time to feel pretty secure on a horse. I have had my current horse since she was a baby and she is 19 this year. That said, I still have some fear issues that crop up every once in a while. I have geared down and don't really jump much anymore after developing a clotting disorder that was discovered after the injuries. I still make myself try stuff.While I don't like to ride hell bent for leather anymore, I still trail ride alot, team pen, do some low level combined tests, musical freestyle dressage, hunter pace, and the occasional fox hunt.