|"....in this pic you can see part of my stitched-up incision and the beginning of my black eye!"|
I like to think that I’m an intelligent woman and I know that I’m a proponent of helmet use when riding. However, as bright as like to think I am, I never, ever thought to wear my helmet when in the stall with my horse, when I’m grooming him or just simply leading him in the aisle or even outside for hand grazing. So, it's with great embarrassment that I bring you this cautionary tale of my weekend with my horse, the wonderfully kind, Valentino!
The horse-flys were bad, they were out in full force and they “seemed” to be the size of small birds! I was in the stall with Valie, admiring his shiny coat and noticing that he had begun to gain weight while simultaneously talking with my friend, Liz Morris, who was standing outside of the stall. I wasn't paying close attention and without warning, Valie violently shook his head to get rid of those annoying, hard biting, flys and.... at that precise moment, we collided, horse head to human head! Then, in the blink of an eye, I was thrown into the other side of the stall’s wall in slow motion (or so it seemed) and couldn’t get up. Valie, stayed where he was, without moving at all and while on the ground, the one and only thing I remember was how vulnerable I felt and it wasn't because my horse made an advance or spooked while I lay there, he was so very good, it was just because the fear of "what could've been" was like a blinking, neon sign - front and center!
In rescue mode, Liz and my friend/trainer/instructor Lindsey Canesi dragged me out of the stall and boy, did the blood ever flow, it was in my eyes, it was everywhere, I was disoriented, in horrific pain, nauseous and couldn’t focus. The ambulance was called and after what seemed like forever with an additional scare in the ambulance when my blood pressure dropped to a dangerous level, I was in the hospital getting cat-scanned and stitched. Despite a diagnosis of a concussion, I did not have a skull fracture, hematoma or brain bleed and after getting stitched up, it was then I realized just how lucky I was and how close I came to possible death. ....dramatic you say? In my humble opinion, I don't think I'm overreacting!
So, tell me, what's your reaction to this story? Are any of you like me, a person that never gave a second thought to wearing a helmet unless you are just about to get in the saddle or are you someone that thought about wearing your helmet while doing any kind of ground work and just never got around to it or….are you one of the smart ones that wears a helmet from start to finish!
There it is, my story, and I've told it to as many people who will listen and to as many equine and and equestrian related social media sites that I can find. Furthermore, I've made a firm decision to wear my helmet whenever I'm working with my horse because I just don't want to make the same mistake and expect a different result (they say that's the true meaning of insanity!).