I must, on pain of stealing more time from my employer, respond to one comment before this evening.
I am appalled that anyone would blame Chris Reeve's accident on forward seat riding. Chris Reeve's horrible accident had three components: 1.) a fence with no ground line/false ground line. Since his accident, this is no longer considered an appropriate question for a Novice level course (or Training either.) and all fences have brush or filler added to make an appropriate ground line. 2.) Chris Reeve's size. He was 6'4" and close to 200 pounds, and he stuck the ground head first, at an angle. The force generated by his mass and the acceleratation, combined with the nearly 45 degree angle, crushed his cervical vertebra. 3.) When he came off his horse, his stick and arms got tangled up in the reins, and he could not throw out his hands or arms to break his fall. Again, he struck the ground head first, at considerable speed, as what rodeo cowboys call "a yard dart." Without this last detail, he might have sustained broken wrists or broken collarbones, not a severe spinal cord injury.
You do not have to be approaching a fence in two point to midjudge a distance, or miscommunicate with the horse about the distance, and at speed, the result is often the same.
How do know some of this stuff? I have seen tapes of the accident, multiple times. The accident occurred at Commonwealth Park, or the old Showday Farm in Culpeper, VA, one of my "home courses", we schooled and competed there often. I was not there the day Mr. Reeve was hurt, but was at both the previoius and following events there - they hosted two combining training events a year, Spring and Fall. I have actually jumped the fence where the wreck occurred, multiple times, on multiple horses, both schooling and in competition, and a bunch of students did as well. I have photos in my album taken on that course.
Finally, I was a practicing EMT at the time. Mr. Reeve was transported by the Nightengale helicopter to UVA hospital, the closest Level 1 trauma center, and I heard several medical debriefs of the accident, the call and the transport.
Last edited by maura; 02-22-2012 at 08:37 PM.