Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Unmounted Accident - Head to Head

 
"....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!).

7 comments:

Karen said...

Something similar (but much less dramatic) just happened to me! Had my head a little to close to my horse's and he shook his head and then hit my head and I ended up biting my own lip. I don't think it's a bad idea to wear a helmet when working with horses on the ground. Obviously things can happen! I am glad you are ok. Very scary!

The Thoroughbred Hunter Lady said...

Thanks for commenting, Karen! I'm quite sure you experienced a lot of pain when you bit your lip and the truth is that despite how traumatic such an accident is or isn't, an injury that happens, out of the blue, is still a big shock to the system! In my case, I continue to beat myself up mentally because I feel so stupid for never thinking about "close encounters of the unmounted kind"!

TBDancer said...

There are days when I think I should have my helmet on the nightstand and put it on before I even get out of bed in the morning. (Thankfully, those days are few and far between, but still. I tend to do stuff like stand up while still under the rail of the washrack). Accidents happen--and as you report, they don't happen slowly. Glad you're okay.

Jodi said...

I'm glad that you will be okay and don't think that you are being overdramatic at all. I work with racehorses everyday, along with having dressage horses, and often think that I should wear my helmet and vest all of the time. Most of our horses are pretty well behaved, we are insistent on respect, but it's still the racetrack and there is usually a lot of activity/noise that can lead to their reactions. I've been slammed against the wall, kicked in the back, struck in the head, knocked upside the head, and then some. The fact that I don't protect myself better after all of that makes me wonder at what point in time I became so reckless.

The Thoroughbred Hunter Lady said...

Jodi, geeez, the injuries you've experienced at the track are overwhelming and I'm glad that you have not been seriously disabled! As we all know but often don't think about, we're dealing with thousand pound animals and I, for one, often forget that my horse is absolutely nothing like my dog. I try very hard to make certain that Valie respects my space but the truth is that I never really gave much thought, all these years, to what could happen to me while on the ground rather than just in the saddle and........after this accident, you can bet that I will never forget that a very real possibility exists for a potential accident when doing something as seemingly harmless as even standing next to my horse and just petting him! Thanks so much for your comment and also for your comment, TBDancer, too. I feel so much less like a fool after hearing that similar things happen to other horse people!

Britney Muller said...

AHHH!!! So glad to hear you're alright! Thanks for sharing.

Britney Muller said...

Ahh so glad you're ok! Thanks for sharing