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Broken pelvis

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  • Broken pelvis

    So after probably the best arena work my lovely event horse and I have ever had... I mean he was spot on! Did everything I asked perfectl, was on the bit, light in his bridle, listening to me, my legs and seat.( he is an OTTB and has only been back in training since I bought him the last week of October 2011 and just came off stall rest after hock injections). So a ride like today is the treat after a lot of time and work. Shumaker is amazing and couldn't ask for better. So when it came to cooling him off after such a great ride, I figured a nice relaxing hack out was just the answer. He isn't usually spooky so I had no concerns. Well he did spooked and after the 3rd or 4th, rodeo worthy buck I was hitting tje ground. I tried to stand up and couldn't. A trip to the ER later I was told I have a broken pelvis. No surgery in my future but I'm in a ton of pain. And much to my dismay my doctor tells me it will be at least 6 weeks before my butt is in a saddle again!

    So anyone else ever deal with this type of break before? And if so what advice do you have? I have never had anything broken and am having a very hard time dealing with not only the pain and dependency I now have on everyone since I can barely move enough to use this dang walker they gave , but the fact I can't even feed or muck stalls or lunge my two horses. And I have them at my own place so I have no one but the boyfriend to help. He can feed and turn out but lunging is out of the question lol

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

  • #2
    A friend that at that time worked in a feedlot was riding this horse that bucked.
    He bucked her in the concrete aisle and she ended up with a broken hip.

    Hers healed without any trouble and I don't remember but I don't think she had surgery.
    She said later that she didn't have any side effects, was like new, but it was a pain to get around or get anything done while it was healing.

    Right after that one the same horse bucked her off again and she broke her ankle and that was worse, hearing her tell about it and took longer in crutches, before she could do much.

    The horse? She sold him, to her ex-husband.


    • #3

      Please tell us more about your fracture. Is more than one fracture line? Since you don't have surgery planned, I am making the assumption that the pieces are still in the correct places and not completely broken through. Am I on the right track?

      What age range are you? That makes a difference in the quickness of healing, too.

      Being an eventer, I know it is mentally incredibly frustrating that you have this brand new horse who is feeling really good after his procedure. I'm hoping that the area 3 people will respond to your request over on the eventing forum. Where are you located? Are you vaguely near the university at Oxford? That could be a source of riders or help for you. Do you have anyone to help you personally while you are in this stage of healing? It can be quite tough to move to the bathroom, much less shower. Do you have a waterproof stool for the shower? If it is made of plastic, make sure it won't collapse when it is heated by the warm water. Ask me how I know..

      For your viewing pleasure, there are about 12 threads and a larger number of posts about broken pelvis and ligament damage. I just did a quick search on this forum.

      Sometimes, the soft tissue is forgotten in the focus of the fractures. It will be important for you to have physical therapy to strengthen your core and get all the nerves working correctly again. The neural pathways have been "shocked" by the trauma and they shut down. They have to be re-started or new neural pathways formed. Some of the small movements can be started very soon, while you are still on bed rest. (I'm assuming that you have to rest, so you will heal. If you do too much too soon the fractures can get worse and perhaps displace.)

      Do you have a memory foam cushion for your bed? You will also want one for any sitting. My favorite one for sitting was made by poron. There are some new ones that I've seen used as saddle pad inserts. Matrix has visco-elastic ones. I haven't tried them yet. You could contact Matrix through Toklat and ask for the designer. Explain what just happened and she may be able to create something for you. She has been working on one for me.

      Please feel free p.m. me.
      Intermediate Riding Skills


      • Original Poster

        Whicker- So I just looked at my xrays at CT scan (they gave a CD with them on there). It is a clean break in my pubic bone! About a 1" gap in between the bones that should be attached! So you are on the right track, surgery is not in my future thank god! From what I have researched they will probably put me in a brace and keep me on bed rest for 2-3 weeks then I should be healed enough to start moving around more, until then the old-lady walker I got is my best friend!

        I am 23, so I know I should heal pretty quickly and be good as new, but like you said, I have a great horse who is ready to be back to work and we have so much I wanted to get accomplished training-wise the next two months. I am about 2 hours from Oxford but my trainer is located in Oxford. She is at a show this weekend but when I talk to her this evening (she has already text me freaking out after she saw my FB posts lol) I am hoping she can take both my boys for the next month so they can stay in steady work. I am super new to area III so she is about my only good contact I have for a rider at the moment.

        No memory foam on the bed right now although I have a feeling the boyfriend will have to suck up his hate of Wal-Mart (our only store in town) and go grocery shopping as well as get me a memory foam pad. I love our bed but its already making my sore back even worse!

        HAHAHA I can only imagine how you learned about plastic shower seats and hot water! That would be exactly my luck. I have to have him get me one of those as well... It was pretty hot yesterday, I was sweating just grooming and after riding two horses pretty hard, let's just say I don't smell so lovely at the moment... a shower is in my future! I don't care if I have to go in our back yard and get hosed down! lol

        When it gets closer to me being back in the saddle I will look into some sort of pad to help make it easier for me.

        Thank you so much for all the advice! This is my first broken bone ever and its so frustrating!


        • #5
          Hurrah for your trainer!

          I'm glad to hear that you can send the horses to your trainer. That will help all of you. I'm sure she will work him through the bucking and hopefully find if there is another sore spot or just exuberance.
          Amazing how athletic they can be, isn't it?
          I remember lying on the ground, trying to breathe and not black out, watching my horse leap and buck. I was thinking, "Wow, he's going to be an awesome 4* horse! Now I just got to live to ride it!!!"
          Intermediate Riding Skills


          • #6
            Just like the horses, icing at this point will help enormously. When your boyfriend hits walmart, he can pick up the flexible gel paks to keep the break cold. Then you will probably want the lightest possible weight blanket/comfortable to keep the rest of you warm. I couldn't have any weight on the break.
            How are your legs? Are you having nerve pain shooting down your legs? Sometimes the sciatic nerve gets "irritated". That made me scream and collapse. The ice helps at this stage. Later heat will calm the muscle spasms.
            Intermediate Riding Skills


            • Original Poster

              lol well to briefly explain my gorgeous, loving, goofy, talent TB, he spooks in on of two ways, either he just gets interested ie- stands still and looks at whatever it is that caught his attention, snorts, etc. This is the usual reaction when he is paying attention to what's going on. His other option is jumping sideways or a good ole fashioned bucking spree lol. Thankful this is only the second time he has ever bucked with me on him and really the worst he has ever bucked either under saddle, on the lunge or out in his pasture. He is super athletic and can be hot but tends to be pretty calm really. He had injections 3 weeks ago after I had him x-rayed when he started having some inflammation in his left hock and stifle. The vet found a bone spur. He injected both hocks and his left stifle and put him on stall rest for 6 days. Well his first week back in rain pretty heavy so I couldn't ride (i don't have a covered arena). Well then last week he took an off step when he decided to buck on the lunge lol so I gave him a few days off just to be safe. Yesterday was actually my first day back on him since then as I had just been ponying him off my other horse and lunging him so he can start building his strength back up w/o my weight on him too.

              I don't have any shooting pain, thinking thats only b/c its my left side broken- last time I can any sciatic issues was when I hurt the right side of my lower back. But it left leg will start to feel like its falling asleep, then get better etc. Mainly when I move I can hear/feel the bone making grinding noises- great right?lol. I sure can't put any weight on my left leg, which does make having the walker a great help even if it does make me feel like I'm 80 lol. But yesterday when I tried to stand up after being so rudely dismounted I just about screamed. I like to think I have a high pain tolerance (Im an instance stand out at any barn or show due to the fact I have a full-sleeve tattoo on my left arm, half sleeve on my right arm and full chest piece. I grew up on a dressage training/breeding farm and through quite the rebelious phase. but i do have a dressage horse on my left hip with the trakehner logo, that's always a hit at shows lol) but that nearly had me back on the ground. I can honestly say this is the worst pain I have ever been in. I had surgery a few years ago and didn't even use the pain meds they sent me home with. Now I'm religiously taking the meds for this. Just so far from what I am use to. It sucks.

              To top if of my boyfriend text me a picture from when he walked in the barn, my horse that threw me had his head over his stall door with the most sorry, depressed look. The bf said he looked like "I'm sorry if I did wrong, I didn't mean to" I'm hoping to get to ride to the barn here in a few days so he can bring Shumaker to the truck so I can at least see him.


              • #8
                Ow ow ow! I had a hairline crack in my pelvis after a fall a few years ago, did NOT go to the ER (bad me) and when I finally did decide it was painful enough to be worth a trip to the doctor, X-rays revealed it. I also pulled some ligaments in that general area.

                My number one recommendation, when your doctor says you're ready: physical therapy in a pool! The water resists your movement, so you build strength, and makes you buoyant so you aren't putting a lot of weight-bearing stress on the broken area. My therapist was great and I enjoyed being in the lovely warm water for 30 minutes about 3 times a week, for about 6 weeks. I went on the regular PT when the pool PT was done.
                You have to have experiences to gain experience.

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


                • Original Poster

                  I have been told by a few people on here that PT would be important especially sports medicine PT. To be honest as much as I love to swim and have used water therapy for my horses, I totally forgot it applies to me too! I'm hoping that is an option once I get to that point in my recovery If not I have a friend with a pool that I could use to exercise in.

                  Thank You!


                  • #10
                    Sorr to hear about yoru accident! My mom (79) broke her pelvis in 4 places falling off my horse bareback! I guess the pelvis being a ring it is almost impossible to break it in just one place. She did not have surgery either but for sure started with PT the day after the accident and every single day for about a month! She started with the belt around the chest (so we could grab her) and a walker, a ton of exercises, then the walker. Eventually a cane.Now she is fine, I'd say about 3 months totally back to normal and she has great bones. Ready to ride again!

                    She also got a hospital bed at home and a toilet seat elevator and hand rails at home, thankfully shower has not steps to it, that made it easier but getting her shoes and socks on remained a challenge for a long time. She also used an "invisible dog leash" to get her feet up on the bed (that was hard).

                    good luck and best wishes for a very speedy recovery!! At least you and her have great stories to tell at the ER, not like you fell off your chair or something!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lilitiger2 View Post
                      Sorr to hear about yoru accident! My mom (79) broke her pelvis in 4 places falling off my horse bareback! I guess the pelvis being a ring it is almost impossible to break it in just one place. She did not have surgery either but for sure started with PT the day after the accident and every single day for about a month! She started with the belt around the chest (so we could grab her) and a walker, a ton of exercises, then the walker. Eventually a cane.Now she is fine, I'd say about 3 months totally back to normal and she has great bones. Ready to ride again!

                      She also got a hospital bed at home and a toilet seat elevator and hand rails at home, thankfully shower has not steps to it, that made it easier but getting her shoes and socks on remained a challenge for a long time. She also used an "invisible dog leash" to get her feet up on the bed (that was hard).

                      good luck and best wishes for a very speedy recovery!! At least you and her have great stories to tell at the ER, not like you fell off your chair or something!
                      GO MOM!
                      I wasn't always a Smurf
                      Penmerryl 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.


                      • #12
                        Do we get to see pics of your horses? It sounds like Shumacher is quite expressive

                        The pain level is one of the worst one can have, since your back is unstable. Back nerve pain is off the scales. Grown men scream and faint! Don't feel like a wimp. I'm sure your have a high pain threshold, cause eventers just do..
                        I hope that they give you a stability belt. If it works for you, it will help hold your pelvic girdle together while it is healing. At least, it will get the broken pieces closer together so they can think about joining. Anything that slows down or stops the movement helps the healing and the agony.

                        That grinding sound is just peachy, isn't it?? Given that you have the complete break, you are going to have to be very careful not to over-face your body. Think of it as a very fine horse, which is going to be with you for your lifetime. Just take the time to do the rehab and training right... right?

                        That left leg numbness is from pressure on the nerve. You may start to recognize a weird sensation just before it buckles. Rubbing your back where you broke it or your lumber spine may ease the spasming. Is there a home care nurse to come see you and help you set your place up? My friend had one show up per Dr.'s request.

                        I wasn't so fortunate- But it took a 6 month saga to find the orthopedic-neurology trained P.T., who found the brilliant professional sport medicine spinal neuro-surgeon, to doing the MRI, nerve conduction study and the x-rays. Then, I had too much damage in too many places to be a good surgical risk. Thank goodness there was P.T. and stem cell to get things functioning again.

                        The local drs just thought I was a bit ouchy. They didn't know about the high pain threshold we horse women have, and thought I was fine for a lady of my age! I'm NOT that old!

                        Hope you get better drugs and sleep....
                        Intermediate Riding Skills


                        • Original Poster

                          Unfortunately the only home health nurse I'll have any time soon is the ever wonderful boyfriend lol but he is doing quite well... Just helped me take shower. Was probably the most unromatic showering experience ever lol just a lot of my cussing from the pain and almost crying b/c I couldn't dry my lower half off or get my own underwear on but we made it through it.

                          I have an appointment at a great local orthopaedic doc Tuesday thanks to the future mother-in-law. He knows me and understands my needs as a rider so hopefully that helps keep me healing in the right direction.

                          I will figure out tomorrow how to post a link for pictures of Shumaker and Tunes. I have pictures of both on pinterest and fb. I'll do that first thing in the morning as I don't feel like getting back on the computer at the moment lol

                          Thank you all again for all the advice and support. I'm not much of a wimp about things like this, just the first time its me with a broken bone and I am not good at just laying around relaxing!


                          • #14
                            You are totally not a wimp at all!! A pelvis break is a significant trauma!! My mom (yeah, she rocks, her chiro told her she needs to ride 3x a week!!!! ) did not have to wear the girdle but one has to be really careful not to jostle that bone so it can heal. And for sure take the pain meds to keep ahead of it, she was on oxycodone for first three days, then just took tylenol. They didn't want her getting tense with pain (actually they gave her morphine the night it happened). PT was fabulous, knew when to push her and when to rest. thinking back, I'd revise my timeline to maybe 2.5 mos that she was up and back and could drive again (that was a big deal, had to do with how fast she could move that leg).Glad you have a walker (but she had exercises to wean off the walker) and your BF!! Hope it heals very very quickly!!


                            • #15
                              My advise

                              Take the time to heal. My horse went into a bucking fit and I broke my pelvis in three places when I came down on the saddle hard. Then I couldn't sit, so I had to bail. I had just been cleared to ride after having surgery when it happened. I was not too happy about 3 more months of rehab after recovering from the surgery, but being in so much pain made even the thought of riding unbearable.
                              Two of the fractures healed up nicely in two months, the third fracture I was told might never heal (nonunion fracture) if I didn't take it easy. Just the thought of always being in that much pain for the rest of my life, was enough to slow down. After five months it finally healed. I have had many broken bones, this by far was the most painful. I always thought that fractures healed, didn't know there's a chance they might not and what that can mean.
                              A friend of mine came very close to dying from a broken pelvis. That area is rich with blood vessels and she had her husband drive her to the hospital rather than call an ambulance. An EMT told me that they have to be very careful moving a patient they suspect has a pelvic fracture. Then my ortho added that you usually can only be moved once and that better be by someone who knows what they're doing, because it's so easy to displace a bone and nick an artery.
                              So take as much time as you need, don't rush, your horse will be just as happy eating grass as being in a program. It sounds like you have some riders/trainers lined up though, let everyone take care of you. You've survivied a life threating injury, rent movies, eat popcorn, and heal.


                              • Original Poster

                                Redpony- Thank you for the prospectively on my injury! I forget how deadly it really can be. I have just never been the lay around and relax type lol but I am making my best effort. I know I want to heal correctly. I couldn't handle being in this much pain for the rest of my life nor do I want riding to cause me pain to such a point I can't ride anymore... I would freak at that point! I have my ortho appointment tomorrow morning, so hopefully I'll get going on anything I need to be doing.

                                Your right about my one horse- he prefers to be out grazing. It's the one that caused this mess I worry about. I have never had a horse who enjoyed working like he does... I think I could school him 7 days a week and he would be in heaven. One of the many plus points of a TB I think! So if all goes well at the least he will be heading to my trainers this weekend! Guess I'm like every other rider... I know I'll be ok, I'm more worried about my horses!lol


                                • Original Poster





                                  Links to the photo albums of the boys. The dapple grey is Tunes, and the bay with chrome is Shumaker. I keep my horses at a friends barn, not fancy by any means but we have done a lot of work to it to get it truly useable, so the other horses in the one album are his horses, which I take care of in exchange for my two staying there. Just ole heinz 57 trail horses but they are all pretty sweet.


                                  • #18
                                    You are a brave woman posting an album of pictures of you on your horses helmetless on the thread where you are talking about a fall that resulted in a serious injury. Good thing you are alive to tell the tale.
                                    McDowell Racing Stables

                                    Home Away From Home


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Last time I checked I have the complete right to not wear a helmet on my own property if I so chose. I am old enough to make those choices. You may not agree with them, but that's my choice. I wear one when I am jumping or doing any xc work. You may not agree with that theory but I don't see how a helmet on my head would have prevented my pelvis from breaking? When you can tell me how that would have helped please feel free to inform me. Until then I would ask you to heed advice I am sure you have heard before- if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.


                                      • #20
                                        Yep and you also have the right to live on our tax money for the rest of your life while you are on life support. God Bless America.
                                        McDowell Racing Stables

                                        Home Away From Home