Archive for December, 2007

Crash Landing

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Nov.17 I was bucked off my 5 year old Morgan horse, Willy. I have been riding him since July and he has been doing well, so this was not expected, but given the fact that he is still pretty green, not too much of surprise either. I think it is really one of the only times that I have been intentionally bucked off by a horse. I am usually very careful to avoid situations where that might happen, but you can’t always prevent it. There is an old saying that there are two kinds of riders, those who have fallen or been bucked off and those who will. Taking an occasional spill is just part of the sport. It has been a few years for me, but I know this won’t be the last time either…

Willy

Willy

I was riding with two friends. We were making a big loop and were on the return end of it, moving at a canter and or fast gait up a gently sloping dirt road with nice footing. Elly was in front on her mare, I was in the middle and Joan behind on her mare. Joan moved up near or beside Willy and I twice, and both times Willy got kind of squirrelly and fussy, but I was able to keep him going and get him back on track. He is at the bottom of the pecking order in my herd and he views a horse coming up from the rear with any kind of speed as potentially aggressive. A horse has to get used to these kinds of things. A seasoned trail or arena horse won’t be bothered by it. The next time she came up close to us, Willy kicked out at her mare and I instantly responded with a sharp little pop of my riding whip to his rump on the side he had kicked with to let him know that this is not acceptable behavior. He responded by having a ballistic bucking fit. I think I lasted at least one or perhaps two bucks, but not more than that. There was no time to think about a graceful bail off of him. I just wound up bouncing off the ground.

I landed on my lower R back, above the hip and on the back R side of my head. The impact to my head was hard enough that my sunglasses flew off and the lens popped out of the frames. I was grateful for the helmet I always wear. I think I would have sustained a serious brain injury if I had not had it on. My back was the worst pain at first and I lay still until I was pretty sure that there were no broken bones. My head was dizzy and I saw stars. My neck was also spasming for about 5 minutes and I could barely speak. I kept starting to black out when standing and had to keep getting down on the ground for a short while, but I don’t think that it was longer than 15 minutes before we had found my glasses, lens, and riding crop and I was able to remount and ride back to the trailer. I felt OK. I took the lead and we even cantered a little on the way back.

I had a week long headache, and lots of pretty spectacular bruising on my backside, but it could have been worse and I am grateful it wasn’t! I have been out riding several times since I was dumped, even on Willy and all is well.

I saw my endocrinologist On Nov. 26 for my annual Cushing’s check up (or in my case to celebrate the fact that I seem to be symptom free at almost 3 years after my pituitary surgery!) and we talked a little about my recent spill. He related a far worse tale of equestrian woe.

One of his patients, a woman I think around my age who has ridden horses all her life was riding her trusty horse of 16 years. She had never had a problem with him and she still doesn’t know what set him off, but he also had a terrible bucking fit and she was tossed up in the air above her western saddle and was impaled by the saddle horn. It ruptured her vagina and bladder and tore an artery. She was lucky her husband was riding with her that day. He said that she blacked out before she hit the ground and he immediately dialed 911 on the cell phone. The paramedics were there within minutes. He applied pressure as best he could and probably saved her life, but just barely. She was in the hospital for 3 months!

This is one reason I don’t like western saddles, is those damned horns! I have heard of other stories of people being killed by saddle horns. There is no need for it unless you are roping cattle and need it to dally to. The other reason I prefer English type saddles is comfort (they have a narrower twist and thus you don’t spread your legs as far) and I also like the closer contact with the horse. I can feel the horses movements much better with and English saddle.

I think that the good riding weather is over for a few months now; winter has arrived here in central Utah. Tiki and Betty will be fine if they stand around for a few months, but I am probably going to send Willy back to the trainer who I had ride him for a month this summer for part of the winter and do some arena work on him involving riding with other horses so he starts out the spring a little further along than he is now. I need to concentrate on getting us moved into our new old home and then painting for a show I have agreed to have in March of 08. Let it snow!