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

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  • #41
    Time

    Give yourself time; more time than you had originally planned; try not to set deadlines for yourself; goals are fine, but, your brain and your doctor will tell you when; find a sports psychologist , or a book on sports psychologye;e thr are several good ones written especially for riders
    breeder of Mercury!

    remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans

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    • #42
      Absolutely amazing how much footing you can get ground into your flesh, down your shirt, into your bra, your underwear. I fell off, went home and changed and went to work and still had dirt stuck in places when I finally got home for real and took my shower. Glad to hear you are OK.
      With time and an overlay of positive experiences the fear will fade. Try to be in the moment more, fear is such a product, and creator, of overthinking. I can worry myself into throwing up. Powerful emotion but not exactly what I am wanting to happen. Best of luck.
      Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
      Incredible Invisible

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      • #43
        give yourself some time....it could take awhile, and you DO want to be super careful not to get another concussion while you are still healing. I recommend Janet Edgette's book, "Heads Up! Practical Sports Psychology for Riders, Their Families & Their Trainers", there is a great chapter on fear and how you cant wish it away.

        I had a bad fall and struggled with fear for years. What finally helped me was to see a sport psychologist that specializes in riding (http://www.equestriansuccess.com/index.htm) and to do EMDR, a surprisingly simple technique that helps the brain view traumatic events differently (ie its now just a memory, not a panic-inducing, ever present, could happen at any time thing).

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        • #44
          fwiw, I had a $75 Troxel that saved my butt

          I had a nasty accident in February 2008... horrible concussion, broken vertebrae, broken left arm/hand/fingers, etc etc when a snotty OTTB decided to play rodeo and sent me flying into a wall. I guess I was lucky (?) in that I blacked out and don't remember much of anything - the last thing I recall is flying toward the wall going "well now, it's been awhile since I've fallen off". Next thing I remember is being strapped to a backboard (had the rest of the story filled in for me later - it's rather sordid!).

          Anyway, my injuries were such that I was unable to ride, or do much besides hobble around with a grimace on my face, for several months. When I was finally able to get back on, I had zero fear and climbed right up on our eldest, most beginner lesson horse and rode with no problems. 20 minutes later I hopped on my 5 year old ultra-green bean and had a fine ride. I even showed him 3 weeks later to great success.

          Then... from nowhere, fear set in. I don't know why, but my body and psyche had one heck of a delayed reaction. My muscles got stiff, my mind screamed in terror every time a horse put a toe out of line (I used to be completely fearless and enjoyed - yes, enjoyed, ha - riding naughty, green, and/or baby horses). I became extremely defensive when riding and cried nearly every time I stepped off a horse. (Granted... this was not helped by aforementioned 5 year old greenbean - but still!) It got so bad my trainer basically pulled me aside and gently explained she didn't think I was ready to do my greenie yet. I very, very gladly put the horse in her (extremely capable!) hands and watched from the sidelines for the next few months (and boy - was it worth watching! The two were/are poetry in motion ).

          Last September I decided it was time to start riding again. I rode lesson horses at my university for 4 months and found it absolutely exhausting. I was still petrified, but my university instructor had zero idea what was going on and frankly wouldn't have given a crap. Even with being stiff and scared, I was still a good rider and she put me on some tough horses. It was then that I began to snap out of it a little and started concentrating a little bit better and not thinking I was going to get launched all the time, or die, or whatever my brain was coming up with.

          I began riding my 5 yo back in January. While it has, of course, not been perfect, it is very slowly getting better... we have hills and valleys, and I have days where my formerly broken bones betray me and try to finangle themselves into weird angles. (Ever since the accident, my left arm does some amazing things on its own when I'm riding, and my brain thinks that it looks just fine from the saddle - only after my trainer is hopping up and down apopletic and I see pictures do I realize it's not so correct after all!) I STILL have a tendency to ride defensively and get scared more easily than I ever did. It's honestly been only this past week and a half that I've been feeling shades of my former riding self - I'm NOT exhausted when riding (mentally or physically, which of course feed off one another), I'm much stickier and more sure of my body position and what I'm doing up there, and I don't get horrifying flashes of fear. From here, I think it will only get better.

          This was incredibly long winded - if nothing else, do know it's not always a fast or easy road to recovery or being yourself on horseback again. And it doesn't always hit right away when you get back on. Take it one step at a time, and if you feel scared or rushed, BACK OFF and let your mind and body recuperate. I think that was my greatest mistake. I think I would also see a sports or regular therapist if I could go back in time, to help understand what was going on. Hindsight, I know what happened, but at the time it was just mind-numbing OMG! Why can't I ride anymore!!! Why do I hate being on a horse?!

          Sending well wishes and jingles in your direction.

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          • Original Poster

            #45
            All this support is SOOO amazing! I am going to take it slow. Going to the barn this weekend and plan on sitting on my horse and just walking around. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body, it was just an unfortunenate rider error so I am not worried he will do something to me. It's just me now. I thought I had it all together and could make the move from hunterland to the jumpers but now I just don't know. My confidence in my own ability has been basically crushed. I have a plan to help me feel more confident......I need to get more fit and loose about 15 lbs., I need to take a step back from showing, I want to ride alot more without having the pressure of another horseshow to go to. I'm 43 years old with 3 young kids, I'm going to change my perspective and just ride for fun for awhile.

            Thanks again for all the amazing stories!!!! Sometimes do we think we are just plain crazy to do this sport?

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            • #46
              Originally posted by iccir View Post
              Sometimes do we think we are just plain crazy to do this sport?
              Just about every non-horse person I know thinks I'm crazy to get back on after my accident. The horse people know I had no other choice.

              Thankfully, my doctor never let me mom think that I wouldn't be riding again. His wife rides and had broken her neck in a fall...and got right back on as soon as she was able. Doctor told mom in my first visit, "it's a disease so don't think you're going to be able to convince her not to ride again."
              Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
              Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

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              • #47
                Originally posted by iccir View Post
                He doesn't have a mean bone in his body, it was just an unfortunenate rider error so I am not worried he will do something to me. It's just me now.
                It was the same for me - my horse did not do anything wrong, so I felt no need to get on something else, I actually felt more comfortable getting back on her because I had the trust factor with her, but it was my own judgment I had to learn to trust again. My mare was so distressed when I came off that not only did she not "leave the scene", she instead came around the jump to where I was to check me out and had I been able to catch my breath I would have had to laugh because she kept inching closer and closer and all I could think was "please don't step on me - that is about the only way this could get worse right now" Good luck!

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                • #48
                  Originally posted by Madison View Post
                  It was the same for me - my horse did not do anything wrong, so I felt no need to get on something else, I actually felt more comfortable getting back on her because I had the trust factor with her
                  Even though my horse WAS the issue (he bucked and bolted after hitting a jump with his back feet), I still felt more comfortable getting on him than on another horse. At least with my horse, I know what he is going to react to and what that reaction will be. To this day, I still have a problem getting on/riding a new horse for the first time: even a total beginner safe horse. It's become my issue...and I wish it would just go away. I'm currently horse shopping and let's just say the issue is getting in the way.
                  Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                  Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

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                  • #49
                    I fell off and got a concussion two weeks ago, bruised ribs, bruised hip, fun stuff. I never ride without a helmet anyway, but I'm very glad my Troxel was on my head. The worst part (well, other than the pain ) is that I fell off my new horse that I'd only had a week and a half. I'm wary of riding him and if I remembered at all what happened I'd probably be full on scared. I'm starting to get ancy to ride, thank goodness I have my nice old lady horse to fill that desire. My plan for getting on the new horse again involves someone at the other end of a lunge line.
                    Pam's Pony Place

                    Pam's Pony Ponderings

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                    • #50
                      Sorry to hear To My Suprize that the person died. Was it at your barn? I wonder if they were wearing a helmet and riding boots? Does anyone out there wear a cross country vest even if you don't ride cross country? Do you find they help?

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                      • #51
                        I had a bad fall about 3.5 years ago, head injury. I took a week off as per doctor's orders, but I hated it because I WANTED to get back on as soon as I could to try and get over the fear (although it really helped that I didn't remember the fall!). The fall, I'm told, happened while the horse and I were cantering around a corner - her feet just slipped out from under her on some thin footing and we both went down. So bada bing, bada boom I got a fun ride to the hospital and a week off (the horse was fine - just a few scrapes).

                        My first ride back I thought I would ride my own horse (the horse I fell off was a lesson horse that I was riding that day). Just a light hack, no big deal. So we're hacking, and I go to canter around a corner and (oh irony) my little mare got tripped up in some very deep footing and went down. This time I fell clear of her and we were both fine. But I remember walking to the center of the ring, her in tow, sitting down on the mounting block and just shaking thinking "oh my God, I'm never going to canter around a corner again". I got myself together as best I could though, checked my girl to make sure she was okay, hopped back on, cantered one long side, called it a day and put her away. I was still shaken but somehow that helped.

                        My first real ride back was a lesson. My trainer put me on this beast of a schoolmaster - 17.1 hands of reliability. And I'd ridden the horse before, which helped. We had a great lesson, took everything slow, and I went home that weekend and took a lesson on my own horse feeling much more confident. The next week I took a lesson on the horse I'd originally fallen from and we were fine.

                        I think the important thing is taking things at your own pace - definitely don't try to rush back into something - but also to know when you need to push yourself. Sometimes you don't want to do something, but you need to take a breath and say "you know, it's going to be okay, I'm going to breathe and do this." That might not be jumping a big fence as you come back - it might just be, you know, cantering around a corner . But sometimes you do have to push yourself, just a little. Best of luck, glad you're okay!
                        http://www.chronicleofmyhorse.com/profile/Ashley26

                        "You keep one leg on one side, the other leg on the other side, and your mind in the middle." -- Henry Taylor, "Riding Lesson"

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                        • Original Poster

                          #52
                          UPDATE

                          My fall was in May and in August I begged my trainer to let me start lessons again. I have stuck with my goals to get back into the saddle safely. I went to my first horseshow since the fall in September and remember during the first class being so scared. I knew my trainer,all my barnmates and family watching were holding their breath but I made it around just fine. I came out of the ring with the BIGGEST smile on my face. I was able to make to two more shows after that. The season ended at the last show winning a 3rd in a mini prix. I was so proud. I still hold a little seed of doubt and fear in the back of my mind but I do believe that will actually keep me safer. I am looking forward to next season. I am grateful for everyone stories and advice. Safe riding!

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                          • #53
                            Originally posted by eyeofthetiger View Post
                            Sorry to hear To My Suprize that the person died. Was it at your barn? I wonder if they were wearing a helmet and riding boots? Does anyone out there wear a cross country vest even if you don't ride cross country? Do you find they help?
                            I wear my vest nearly all the time. I had to have one galloping and riding races and have found it very comfy and it's part of me now. I kind of feel naked without it. Plus I'm always on youngsters so it makes me feel secure.

                            My husband makes fun of me because my helmet is one of those big bowl head crash helmets designed by steeplechase rider extraordinaire Tony McCoy. It has saftey vest padding at the back of the head and on the sides . It may look stupid but is very comfy. I like to say, "I can ride anything in my Tony McCoy hat and my saftey vest so start bringing them out."

                            Yep, I'm a muppet!

                            Iccir, Congrats on a super day for you back in the ring. Getting your confidence back is so hard and I have been there so many times. Only difference is, riding was my job and I really had to suck things up to make it work.

                            Terri
                            COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                            "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.

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