Friday, February 03, 2006

Crap, This is Dangerous

We just found out that last weekend, a woman riding on the property behind where we used to live fell off her horse and broke 3 vertebrae and 2 ribs. They had to have one of their group gallop back ten minutes to the house to call 911 ... all told it was probably 30 to 45 minutes from the time of the accident before help got there. Eventually they had to fly in a medical chopper to evacuate her, because the ambulance couldn't get through the rough terrain to where she lay.

They were in a sizeable group, and were pretty much done riding for the day. It was on the way back that her horse -- normally a reliably old hand -- spooked at something and reared up, throwing her. It can happen just like that, one second you're secure and confident and the next you've got a broken neck. And it happened right behind our old house, with our old riding group. I can't help but think that could've been us.

I worry about that every time Annie goes out. I try reminding myself that she's a good rider, that the odds are very low that anything bad will happen, but I can't help but think about Christopher Reeves and what a great rider he was and now what's happened to Judy.

Oy. I hope Judy gets better soon, all of us who have anything to do with horses will be thinking of her.


The Cow Whisperer said...

Wow. I've ridden all my life and never heard of anyone getting hurt that bad. Even when I was cowboying out west, no one had a wreck where they got hurt that bad. (And we had some nasty wrecks, involving things like horses, dogs, and very mad bulls at the end of 40 foot ropes.)

One thing about Christopher Reeve, though - he rode an English saddle, which I have ZERO use for. You may as well take a strap and attach a stirrup at each end and ride essentially bareback. Nothing to hold onto if you have a green colt or a PO'ed mare feeling froggy. Reeves' horse balked and wouldn't follow his cue to jump over an obstacle. Without swells or a saddle horn, he went diving right over the ears and into a new lifestyle. Sad, but if those hunter/jumper folks used even a cheap little circle Y saddle, he'd be making movies today. English / Dressage riding is all about balance and whatever. Western saddles may be heavier, but they are useful for getting something done.

I'm sad to hear of Judy's accident. I hope she will be okay. Back problems really suck. Ribs are painful, but they'll heal.

Jeff Hebert said...

I think part of the deal is that Judy (she's the neighbor of a friend of ours, I don't actually know her) has osteoperosis, which makes her bones more brittle than they might otherwise be.

I can't imagine riding without a saddle horn as in English style. That's just nuts to me. I can see how a ligher, smaller saddle helps you feel the horse more so you can have better control over it, but I ain't goin' nowhere without my "Oh shit! bar".

Jill Phenix Avila said...

I hope “nice” Judy gets better soon. The horse she was riding threw me in an arena… I landed on my feet but I have to say that he is a very big boy. Not tall, but wide and very powerful. From what I heard he didn’t do anything malicious but it does sound like things could have been worse than they are.
I too have had many accidents on horses that never resulted in such injuries but I think I am blessed because I have done some pretty crazy things. My horse is the product of hunter/jumper champions.. He will NEVER be a jumper if I have a say. I would rather go around than jump over something and I agree with the cowboy poet, English saddles are for the birds. I do like their boots though!!