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Lucky to be alive - EDIT: Now with smashed helmet photos!

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  • Lucky to be alive - EDIT: Now with smashed helmet photos!

    Well, I sure am. Took a bad fall today; my first off my greenie (I've had him for 2 years). He spooked at something behind him, made a sudden 360, and bolted. My girth, though it had been fine for the 30 min so far of riding, was apparently very very loose, despite my triple checking, and the saddle slid WAY up his neck (no part of it behind the withers). He kept running and a bucking, pulling down, so I had no choice really. Fell right over his head. He kept galloping, went right over me. I summersaulted under him, felt some hooves. He stopped, I did a quick inventory. Youch. Was kicked on the thigh, many cuts/bruises everywhere, my neck, back, everything. Stiff back, quirked my neck pretty bad. Felt a little woozy. Then I looked at my helmet; HOLY SHIT! The thing was, simply put, half its original size, and didn't resemble a helmet. It had apparently been kicked, the part with the strap attached split off, and it came off my head with the kick. It's totally crumpled. I should get pictures, it's a work of art, I'll tell you. Never seen a helmet hurt like that.

    3 hours of waiting at the ER later, I'm pronounced pretty much fine; no concussion, big bruise on my thigh should be elevated and iced. Need a chiropractor.

    So lucky to be alive. I would be SO dead if not for the helmet. Please, people, wear your helmet. Every time.

    P.S. How do I convince my mom to let me ride my horse ever again? I mean, this is a SERIOUS issue. She's really serious about not letting me ride. O.O I understand her concern, and take every precaution, but it was a total freak thing. I wear a body protector and do DRESSAGE, for pete's sake!

    EDIT: Without further ado, here is my poor, sad hero of a helmet.

    (Rest of the photos here: http://s547.photobucket.com/albums/h...20of%20Trauma/ )
    Last edited by downthecenterlinetheycome; Jan. 16, 2009, 09:49 PM.

  • #2
    You are SOOOOO lucky. I know it was a freak thing, but freak things happen. Your mom knows how close she came to losing you. I would give her the courtesy of taking her fear seriously, and either send your greenie out to cowboy school (the good horseman kind of cowboy who will concentrate on a more humble horse attitude, not fearful, maybe a reiner?) for a couple of months, or a reality-based "no pookums" dressage trainer, or re-evaluate your pre-ride program and feed program. Do you longe a few minutes prior to riding EVERY time to get the greenie spooks and energy out, and/or just to see what you have to ride that day? Is the greenie too fat and sassy? Plus, you may find you will feel mentally shaky the first few rides now, and the greenie may feel it.

    Personally. I ride my greenies in a western saddle always - it has saved me in similar situations - and I always longe 5 minutes to see that day's attitude. Good luck.
    Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design


    • Original Poster

      Thanks guys. I don't feel shaken confidence wise, but you never know. I don't lunge unless he's high; he's been having some soundness issues, vet says ride him W/T gently for now because he's better the fitter he is, don't torque his legs with lunging. (It's not a pain lameness, it's a mechanical issue, and very subtle. I'm not riding a gimp, don't worry.) So I try to avoid lunging him. He didn't seem too hopped up, but I should have read the early signs of the loose girth (ear pinning, swinging around in halts and rein back, being pissy and sensitive).

      He's not really THAT green.. He's been undersaddle for probably 3 years, but he's a very hot type (Anglo Arab). I can't afford a lot of training right now, but he's been ridden by a fantastic dressage trainer over the last 2 years (she trained me, but would hop on him sometimes.)

      I could probably pull the alfalfa pellets from his diet. I moved a couple months ago, from Oregon to Socal, so obviously things are different here. He was on 10 acres of grass pasture with his buddies, now on 1/4 acre of dirt paddock alone (best I could get, and believe me, I've been paying for it in cash and driving time).

      It's the kind of spook I could have handled easily (I stick like a tick), except for the saddle, I was just like, WTF, what the heck is going on? Why can't I stop him?


      • #4
        Sounds like a freak accident. However, given that he's on light work only and is a hot potato, I believe I might substitute ponying for the sake of my continued good health if I were you. That is just as easy on him, no torque.

        I know I don't need to tell you to check and recheck your girth. You'll never forget that again. Glad you were not seriously hurt!


        • #5
          Glad to hear you are relatively ok. I would firstly get the saddle checked, maybe not fitting 100% and that could cause it to be "loose".
          Let me just tell you, when I was a kid (I am an old woman now) I kept having issues with my mom saying I would have to stop riding......I remember skidding around the arena on my elbow and skinning my arm from wrist to way above my elbow, in the middle of a very hot summer spell, and wearing a thick jersey 24/7 to hide the 'damage' from her - 'till she caught me in the bath!!!
          Good luck for getting back into the saddle.


          • #6
            I can relate stories that would make your toes curl, seriously. Glad you are okay and your helmet did it's job. I performed a jet-propelled dismount a couple of years ago...literally flew through the air about 50 feet and landed at warp speed against the arena wall. My head was slammed against a support post and actually put a a 3" dent in the wood. Thank you GPA. Shaken up, wind knocked out of me, sore and bruised, but otherwise okay.

            I'm really old and my mother refuses to watch me jump because she's certain I'll be killed at any moment. Tell your mom, statistically, that you're more apt to be killed in a car accident than get killed on a horse. You can also try "I need more lessons/training/showing (or whatever) so I can ride better and not get dumped."


            • #7
              Originally posted by Go Fish View Post
              I performed a jet-propelled dismount a couple of years ago...literally flew through the air about 50 feet and landed at warp speed against the arena wall.
              I did that one when I was 15. *ss over teakettle into the arena wall due to a bolt followed by a prop-stop. That pretty much totalled my lower back for life (though better my back than my head!)

              It's normal for moms to want to wrap us in bubble wrap...when mine got concerned, I pointed out that my teenaged self was at the barn 24/7 and not doing drugs. That argument always seemed to work well. It was true, too.


              • #8
                Originally posted by catknsn View Post
                It's normal for moms to want to wrap us in bubble wrap...when mine got concerned, I pointed out that my teenaged self was at the barn 24/7 and not doing drugs. That argument always seemed to work well. It was true, too.
                To the OP, this is also a very good argument to use with your Mom. Drug abuse can be very expensive to treat, not to mention deadly.


                • #9
                  Glad you are ok! Agree with argument to use on your Mom. Horses kept me away from all the bad stuff when I was a teen.


                  • #10
                    If at all possible, try not telling any loved ones about accidents, dramatic or seemingly little ones.

                    They'll be happier, you'll be happier and it stops a lot of "You want to keep riding!? You could have been crippled/killed/maimed/broken a nail!!"
                    "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


                    • #11
                      My mother was the same with me when I was a teen. She got sick of hanging around the waiting area of the local emergency department wondering if I was going to be paralyzed or brain-damaged (this was back in the days before GPAs). And we argued a lot. I spent a lot of time lying to her or avoiding her when I was injured.

                      Today I let my own daughter do anything she wants on a horse and I rarely caution her unless I see her doing something frankly stupid. But dangerous--she has carte blanche there. I don't mind if she rides steeplechasers to foxhunt in very tough country.

                      The truth is that the worst injuries I ever had were acquired in the course of doing dressage, and the one that is sitll with me, thirty years later, took place when my horse was initially standing still.

                      For your horse, I'd recommend some in-hand work if he can't be lunged.


                      • #12
                        So glad to hear that you're ok-I got scared just reading your thread!! I don't know if this will make any difference at all, but I've found that double elastic end girths will roller buckles are the easiest to get snug on a horse-maybe that wouldn't loosen as easily and prevent further mishaps? And the other suggestions-lunging,etc I totally agree with. Greenies can be great but they can also scare the $*$# out of you!!! Good luck!


                        • #13
                          that's why they call them "accidents". if you knew it was going to happen or that your horse would bolt that day it would have been a "plan".

                          that's why IMHO there should be a helmet strapped to every head, every time.

                          I always say to my friends who insist on riding without one: "hey that's great you're an adult. but remember if you fall off and split your skull I am not responsible for picking up any brains. your brains = your responsibility."


                          • #14
                            True, Trakehner, but the OP is a minor, and just went to the ER, so not telling Mom would have been pretty much impossible. This is my policy, but I'm (more or less) an adult.

                            OP -- good luck figuring out Mom, the saddle, and the spunky horse. IMHO, brief lunging isn't going to torque a horse's legs. 10 minutes? I don't see how that could hurt your guy, and would help you get him focused and assess if he's being a fruitcake on any given day.
                            I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                            I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


                            • #15
                              Ok OP, so you have the triple whammy, reduced exercise, hot breeding, and a soundness caution so you can't lounge-til-dead. I have been there. Things to try: There are pellets that are grass hay based, not alfalfa. Magnesium (a big bag of Mag Oxide custom ordered from feed store is cheap) and B-1 supplements help this kind of horse. MSM may make him a little sounder and quieter.

                              Kudos to you to drive the distance so your horse can have that 1/4 acre. That is a lot in SoCal.
                              Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design


                              • Original Poster

                                Thanks all. Yeah, he spooks alot, and bolts, but I can handle it, piece of cake, never came off him before this. Frankly, I would have stayed on if not for the saddle, I think. We were rounding the corner and a horse on the Equiciser behind him made a noise or something spooked him, and he did a turn bolt, I had no idea the saddle was that far up, and his head was on the ground, so I hand nothing to do really, riding his downhill sloping neck. Last thoughts = Crap, can I hold on any longer? Ugh, Mom's gonna kill me! :P Horses keep us humble; just yesterday I said he'd never gotten me off. Forgot to knock on wood I guess. LOL.

                                I will pull the alfalfa pellets from his diet. He only gets worked 3 times a week. I'll see if I can get a trainer to hop on him first, to make Mom less nervous. Thing is, every time I've fallen before (2 times), she has never let me ride that horse again (lesson horses). Gah. I'm hiding the helmet from her.


                                • #17
                                  Glad to hear you're ok Looks like you'll be helmet shopping!
                                  "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

                                  Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!


                                  • #18
                                    Well THANK GOD for your helmet... Being a rider and a MOTHER I know both sides of the coin.

                                    I have taken terrible falls myself when I was younger as well as I can understand how your mother would feel.

                                    I say definetly go for the compromise at this point. Maybe also try and ride him only in a ring? Maybe that would help the spooking?

                                    I am also with PC - try some calming supplments and get rid of the alfalfa pellets.
                                    Hickstead 1996-2011 Godspeed
                                    " Hickstead is simply the best and He lives forever in our hearts"
                                    Akasha 1992-2012 - I will always love you sweet girl.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      I do only ride in the ring, per her safety conditions, and my own good sense at this point, though I'd love to get him doing hillwork.

                                      Yes, not to hijack, is there any good helmets that could be used in the dressage ring that are shaped like the tipperary sportage? And not too expensive? I have trouble finding helmets to fit my head, but the tipperary sportage did.


                                      • #20
                                        You got wonderful advice, as usual.

                                        Your mom is going to be worried. This is one of her many worst nightmares - don't you often worry about any and all of the bad things that can happen with your horse? So - be understanding, because she loves you, that's why she's worried.

                                        First - agree to not ride until you are physically 100% okay. Then work on the ground, then in the saddle, and at least for a few times at first have someone there.

                                        I think you will have to acknowledge, and to some extent, assuage her fears.

                                        But no matter what - grateful no serious damage was done~!!
                                        a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues