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I had a BAD fall, my air speed saved my life

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  • #21
    I don't normally come to the jumper forum but I saw the post title on the summary page and clicked out of curiosity. I am so glad to hear that you suffered "only" a concussion, but that is bad enough. It could have been much worse. Take care of yourself. Your confidence will be shaken for awhile.

    Earlier this month I took a nasty fall when my endurance horse went down while trotting. The trail was undermined with varmit dens and the trail caved in. All I knew was the horse was going down and I was hearing my neck crunch and crack and then everything just got quiet and sleepy. You think you'll only get hurt if you're galloping or jumping, but I was hurt pretty bad (concussion, and torn rotator cuff) just from trotting on a flat sand road. I landed on my head and it shook me too. We had an endurance ride this weekend and while cantering out of the start line, I got a wave of panic. It settled after the first few miles but that will be with me for a long time.

    Some will say not to push yourself, but for me, the allure of doing THE one perfect ride of the year was overwhelming and I just had to go. Perfect trail, perfect weather, perfect camping and riding buddy.....everything was just right but I did have some fear. I almost cancelled at the last minute, but I'm glad I went. Just getting back on and trusting the horse again was huge for me.


    • #22
      Head trauma is crazy. Up here in Ontario there was a girl this week that fell off during a lesson and got kicked on the way down and ended up dying. Its a horrible thing thats for sure. If ever someone says why wear a helmet......


      • #23
        I think you just need to get back in the saddle as soon as you feel physically ready, the longer you wait to get back on the more fear you will build up in your head.

        A few years back I was showing my horse in the hunters. I cantered up to the last jump on course, a single oxer, and for some unknown reason I asked him to leave from WAY (like miles) to far out. He jumped but got his leg caught on the back rail of the oxer and flipped over it, luckily he did not land on me. GPA was a life saver in this case as well. I was concerned I would be scared to ever jump again, and I was also scared I had ruined my horse! After evaluting that my horse was ok, and that I was ok despite having my eye swollen shut I insisted on getting back on to do my second course (probably not the most wise decision, I know). However, my horse jumped around like nothing ever happened, and we even placed (the judge possibly could have been taking pity on us..haha). I am so thankful I got back on because I would have built it up and worried about so much that it woudl have been a much bigger production then it needed to be.

        You just have to tell yourself that it was a fluke accident, which happens to everyone, even the best of the best. Once you get back on your horse and jump your first jump you will realize you are fine! I had my fall about 5 years ago, and I haven't fallen off my horse since! Good luck with everything!


        • #24
          Glad to hear you were wearing a good helmet!!!! I know I have been spared at least twice from a bad head injury by wearing a well fitted, tough helmet.


          • #25
            great to hear you're feeling much better! let this be a lesson to some people: ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET ! i can't stand it when i see some people just riding around thinking they look all cool w/o a helmet. all i can think is, yeah, it won't be so cool when you fall and hit your head!

            I had a very bad fall when i was pretty younger. i think i was 11 or 12 yrs old. had a very large horse fall on top of me. Not particularly sure how i lived through a massive horse (think 16.3-17 hands and not a skinny one either) falling on me, but here i am. I was absolutely terrified to get back on a horse soon after that. I finally mustered the courage to, but to be honest these horses were just.. not really that kind. this was at a summer camp, and not one geared towards horses. so here i am far from home for 2 weeks and i'm practically dead, and they want me to go ride these horses bareback. if you can walk, you can ride! (well, then again, i always tell myself that) well, i was so shaken up. i finally managed to ride the "nicer" horse around without having a complete mental breakdown, though when it came to going over an X bareback i was very hesitant. I made it over one but i said i'd call it quits for the day after that. I get home from camp and i was very hesitant to ride some of the new ponies (whom were angels, but how would i have known?) and in general for a while i was very--not as bold. i managed to not be terrified of riding fairly quick, give or take a few weeks. i just rode the real bombproof pony in the barn to get some confidence back.

            ive fallen off a million times before and after that, but i don't think it took me a super long time to bounce back into my bold outlook on riding. i was always the kid that would volunteer to jump the "really big" jump (which i'm pretty sure, at the time when i was really young and stuff, was probably only 2'6'' or something. small now but big at the time) on the ponies and stuff.

            i think you'll be fine. 2 yrs ago at HITS (my first time at HITS! and only in my SECOND class on my first day of showing) i got distracted by a buzzer (ADD right? haha, nope. i just get distracted easily) from a jumper ring, and completely forgot about where i was going. then i was like, OH, i was supposed to turn...way back there. so i really had to scramble to get to this line, which was 3', and it was my first time in the reg large ponies. let me tell you, i have a great pony, he will jump anything, but he will not make it pretty if i don't help him. he is not going to save me. he'll jump it, but he won't make any special effort to keep me in the tack if we take a nasty jump which is exactly what happened. here comes this mighty 3' oxer at the end and we have NO distance, so i'm like, oh crap. oh crap. grab some mane! well i did, but i got completely jumped out of the tack (i have a fun pic of it, as well as my falling sequence! thanks ESI photogs ) and when we started to land--WHAM, my spurs slammed into his side. i was still off balance, and he decided to take off i went bye bye. had a small fracture in my hip. i was crying and crying and crying, not from fear, but because i was so angry at myself for messing up so early, when we'd done so well in the first class. so early on i had to mess up ! and i was thinking, omg, how long does this take to heal? what if i dont ride for months?! well, turns out i was walking around without crutches after almost 2 wks, so once i could walk---of course i could ride. this time, i was not scared at all, but super exited to ride again. since then i've been plenty bold and not much spooks me.

            sometimes, it just takes time. don't pressure yourself. Showing is fun. it can be stressful, but it can be fun. You might need to take some time off from showing, but at one point, you're going to say, man i wish i was at a show! i haven't been to one of those in forever!

            Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3


            • #26
              I am so sorry to hear about your fall but I am glad both you and your horse are ok and safe! i havn't read anyone elses posts so sorry if this has been mentioned but something that has helped a lot of our riders is a sport psychologist if you pm me i can give you the name and # of one you can talk to on the phone a lot of the top riders use her including grad prix riders and HUGE name big eq riders she really helps a lot!


              • #27
                Originally posted by cnvh View Post
                The sooner you get back on, the better. Use an ancient schoolie if you need to, just do walk lessons for a few weeks, whatever it takes. Just GET. BACK. ON.

                From personal experience, I never REALLY get my confidence back until I have another fall, as weird as that sounds... it takes a "good" fall, one where I don't get hurt at all and pop right back to my feet, to remind me that accidents do happen and every fall isn't going to kill me. Until then, that crazy voice in my head has me on pins and needles every time.
                I second this. I just started riding 6 weeks ago after being off all winter and pregnant. I was DREADING that first fall. I was on one of my training horses, asked for the canter (first time canter under saddle since horse had injury) well to the right was fine but the left she totally exploded (she's seeing the chiro!) after landing on the back of the saddle I got body slammed into the ground. After I was like "oh same as usual, nothing really that bad."

                I also am one how can't take things slow...if I am panicked I have to jump in with both feet. It's just how I deal though and is NOT the norm. I second everyone who says that you need to take it slow, unless you're an adrenaline junky!


                • #28
                  You get it back - it takes some time. I am happy that you and horse are safe.

                  I suffered two consussions last year (the second was a compound since I hit the same place on my head).

                  The first time I got bucked of on a hack and my face/helmet hit a rock - it was a Titium (titanium was dented in). I walked away with a fairly bad concussion, and a fractured nose, but, yeah, my GPA saved my life. I now ride with a Speed Air. I don't care that it costs an arm and a leg - I trust their products to save my head.

                  My second fall was similar to yours where I was just schooling a six line (was a seven, but was asked to do it in six) got there is 6.5 and horse got tangled up in the 3'6" square oxer. I got knocked out, since, as stated before, I hit the same place on my head as before (mind you this was six months later). Again, riding with a Speed Air. Still riding with a Speed Air.

                  Took me a few weeks to get my confidence back, I did some lessons on other horses - since my horse was laid-up from the accident and he just isn't the most agreeable fellow in the jumper ring. After a few good rides on schoolies in the barn my confidence came right back. (Horse on the other hand has been retired from jumping, due to type of injury). And, I will be taking a short stint off jumping to heal my brain more fully instead of diving in again on a new horse.

                  So, yes, take it at your own pace - you will find what works best for you. I third SCHOOLIES!
                  Coruscant Stables


                  • #29
                    I am one who never got her confidence back after a major injury, and I was just standing on the ground when I was kicked full force in the stomach. The watershed point, whether riding or standing, is fully realizing how instaneously you can get very seriously injured, in my case dead in 8 hours absent the 7 hourse of surgery, and how you cannot prepare for that - it always comes out of the blue, rider error or not. I did start back slowly, I can ride and jump, and I can talk myself through things, but the inner voice will no longer handle risky horses or riding, so I no longer push that envelope. I rearranged my riding goals, allow myself to get off if I sense a real problem, and consider myself older and wiser (and intact).
                    Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design


                    • #30
                      I just have to say that it's not a GPA that saved you, but simply wearing a well fitted approved safety helmet. There's absolutely no reason one needs to spend $400+ thinking they are getting BETTER protection than any property fitted approved helmet.

                      One of my worst falls in the last few years was getting bucked off unexpectedly and violently. I was thrown many feet above the saddle and landed on the back corner of my head, suffering only a minor concussion and whiplash, wearing my $50 Tipperary helmet.
                      On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                      • #31
                        Well when you find the answer let me know I also had a head injury May 22 2008! Fell at a show on my head but in an overly crowded hack class, got ran into and my mare got shoved into a standard, I fell, was knocked unconscious blah, blah, blah. I have 30 yrs of riding, showing, etc...and still cannot hack in a crowded ring. I have no problems riding again, jumping again, training again, but I can't go back into a crowded ring. I have broken MULTIPLE bones in my riding career, but there is something really scary about hitting your noggin and hitting it HARD! that will really make you think about your mortality...ie Natasha Richardson. I don't know if I will ever be able to hack in a crowded ring again, and I guess I will just have to wait and see. Cut yourself some slack and give yourself some time. That is all I know what to do. Good luck to you and thank your stars that you CAN ride again.


                        • #32
                          Sometimes I think you don't regain all of your confidence back, but it doesn't mean that you can't enjoy it again eventually. Falling off is an inevitable part of our sport, and injuries do occur. You were very, very lucky. I have had two nasty falls and one head injury in my life. The way I've coped with it is to drop down a few levels to where the jump heights are fun and not intimidating, whatever that height may be for you. It helped me immensely!


                          • #33
                            Glad you are okay although your fall made me flash back to 3 weeks ago. I had the same fall. My fault, I was ahead, convinced we were jumping over the 3' fence. Mare stopped on a dime just before the fence so I jumped it alone. Had on my helmet as always ( have a new helmet now!). Hit head first, then right side of face hit the ground, hyper extended my neck as I flipped over. Laying on my back I remember thinking I broke my nose. I rolled over, looked up at my mare ( fence stayed up!) and she was looking at me and could not decide if she should stand there or walk away, very slowly. She decided to slowly cross her front legs and side step away. I just got her a new bridle so while laying on the ground, blood coming out of my nose, I could only think ' dont break the bridle, no stepping on the reins'.

                            Fellow rider who is a nurse comes running over to me, Instructor rescued my new bridle. Nurse did an evaluation, I said for her to get me a tissue, I blew the blood chunks out of nose, got up, went back to mare, got on and jumped the fence. Instructor protesting the whole time but I was going to jump that fence. Then I did a line - I wanted to do the course but even after instructor reminded me of it 3 times, I could not visualize it! Sort of freaky. So got off then.

                            I work with Doctors so the next day at work, I had one listen to my chest since I was feeling light headed. Told him what happened, he grabbed another doctor and they told me to go downstairs to the ER. So I did. Had the CT scan. No brain damage but fluid in my sinus cavity. 3 weeks later, neck still sore. I would like that to get better - how long does this take?

                            I did not stop riding but YES, I am a bit freaked. I cannot do 3 feet like I was. Now even 2'6 is looking a tad big. And my super sensitive Mare knows that I am not 100% so she is stopping occasionally at the low fences now. I did do a show 2 weeks later but only 2'3 and 2'6. Mare did great, no stops. I did a show last weekend and did make it to 2'9. Mare did stop twice but it was not a big deal, I just turned her around and she went over fine second try. I am much more aware of my position so I am sure the Mare feels me riding a bit differently thus why the stops. We will get past this though and I will be a better rider with a better seat and position.

                            It just takes time to get back since these type of head/face falls are bad but they are a wake up call for jumping ahead. I am very aware now. I would keep on riding, just go back to low fences and do not stress. It takes time to get the confidence back.
                            My Blog ( for me and my OTTBs)-ableequine.webbly.com


                            • #34
                              Best check with your doctor regarding getting back on soon. If it was a "significant concussion," then you should not be back on a horse for a while.

                              Asl me how I know this.


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by Coreene View Post
                                Best check with your doctor regarding getting back on soon. If it was a "significant concussion," then you should not be back on a horse for a while.

                                Asl me how I know this.
                                Okay. How?

                                My story is I flew off a running buck into a metal rail. It knocked me out cold and dislocated my right shoulder, which I still have problems with. This was a sale horse that I had seen go with his junior rider a hundred times. The trainer selling the horse thought I could handle his little bolting problem, so neglected to tell me.

                                The neurologist was married to a former rider and he really tried to put the fear into me about riding. I did follow his advice not to ride for three months. Well, two and a half. He said I could not risk another concussion, and I took that very seriously. I can't recall any really specific effects of the concussion, other than feeling not quite right and losing a stack of bills, including my mortgage payment.

                                This is a risky sport, but I think we can do a lot to manage those risks. I never get on any horse without a helmet, ever. (My friends, a mother and daughter who ride, went on a family vacation to Hawaii and went on a trail ride. They were the only ones wearing helmets.) I have turned down opportunities to ride many times because I just don't have the nerve to get on an unfamiliar horse anymore. But it's funny, after that bad wreck, I was just determined not to quit. I was horse shopping at that time, and there I was with my arm in a sling cruising DreamHorse.

                                I think it was Anne Kursinski who had a bad fall and started wearing approved safety helmets after that. Now it's the fashion, and seeing a veteran eventer at Rolex this year doing the show jumping round in one of those fakey little hunt caps just looked absurd. Now if only dressage riders (and I am one) in the upper levels (which I am not) would get the message. One died around here recently doing what he loved best--riding a young horse without a helmet.
                                2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

                                A helmet saved my life.


                                • #36
                                  I second everything everyone here has to say. Come back slowly and do crossrails until you want to barf. Then you are ready to tackle 2'. And if you never get there...so what?
                                  Something that completely changed my riding/confidence after one to many falls and having debaliting fear was hypnosis. PM me if you would like more info.
                                  Good luck!


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by IsolaBella09 View Post
                                    "And this is why I buy $500 helmets." They had yelled at me before for buying "horse stuff" that was so expensive.
                                    The more expensive helmets are not necessarily more safe. In fact, while all helmets that are approved meet the same minimum standards, the GPAs did more poorly than the cheapie Troxels in MDIRF testing.


                                    • #38
                                      THP, 14 years later I still have to take medication daily for vertigo. If you have a "significant concussion" - OP's words - then re-injuring your brain within the first few months after the initial trauma can result in much, much worse than just a significant concussion. Not always, but certainly not worth chancing it. Just my humble been there done that.


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by citydog View Post
                                        The more expensive helmets are not necessarily more safe. In fact, while all helmets that are approved meet the same minimum standards, the GPAs did more poorly than the cheapie Troxels in MDIRF testing.
                                        That's what I was thinking but I didn't have the data to prove it. I work at a tack shop and it's really hard because GPA fit very roundly (even the Pro's which are more oval) and when someone wants a GPA it's hard to convince them otherwise even if it doesn't fit, and if it doesn't fit it's not going to protect you.

                                        I had a bad fall last Wed. I was hacking my horse from the barn to the ring and he decided that he didn't want to leave his barnmates and flipped over backwards. I'd never hit my head hard before and it sent a shock wave through my body to the point that my toes ached for a min. I was so upset when I finally got up (I had no choice I was in a field alone... dumb!) because for the first time in a long time a fall from a horse had really scared me.

                                        The pain was bad, but the fear was horrible.
                                        http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


                                        • #40
                                          I buy what fits and is comfortable - no matter the price.
                                          Coruscant Stables