I need advice - riding after a bad accident

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I need advice - riding after a bad accident

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    03-09-2011, 12:01 PM
I need advice - riding after a bad accident

Hi all,

I am looking for some advice here. About 6 months ago, (Sept 25th), I was riding my 4 y.o. In a lesson, when at a trot, on a circle, he just goofed off a little and reared up. I know that I should have given him a walk break sooner, but my trainer wanted us to reward him on a good note (as he had been acting up just a little on the open circle sides). He lost his balance while rearing up and fell backwards on to me. Luckily he didn't step on me while getting up, cause I can remember seeing him step up, thinking "please don't step on me".

I had one fractured chest vertebrae, 5 fractures in 3 lumbar vertebrae, and my sacrum was broken from top to bottom on the right and on the left. I spent 4 weeks in hospital, and then 2 more weeks in a hospital bed we rented at home. I wasn't allowed or able to get out of the bed for those entire 6 weeks (not even to use the bathroom or ANYTHING), or even just sit up... Quite frankly, I couldn't, since the break in my sacrum was shifting and the pain that causes is something I had never known existed. After the 6 weeks I was able to start putting weight on my right leg, started to learn to walk with a walker, and then after another month, I was able to put weight down on my left leg.

I am doing fine now, still have less strength in my lower back of course, as in 6 weeks all my muscles practically disappeared, but I have no pain.

However, my situation was an incredibly close call. While I was in the hospital the anesthesiologist (cause I had a morphine pump) told me that she was amazed how lucky I got, since 99% of people with my injuries would have severe spinal cord damage and most likely paralysis. Having 6 long weeks to think about all of this, is a very, very long time as well - as there was no way for me to just get my mind off of it, and onto something else.

My youngster is really a good boy, I don't blame him, and I know that it was just an accident. My husband and I don't intend to sell him, and my husband who is far less experienced than me, has been on him at a walk since. I have been on my older "trusted" buddy a couple of times last month, and of course that was totally fine. (Well, getting on him was a little challenging for my leg).

I guess I am just looking for advice on what I can/should do to get this out of my head. I'm allowed to ride my youngster again at the end of March (6 month should have given the bones plenty of time to fill out). I just know that that day my entire life, all my plans, and aspirations could have changed, and that is really, really, heavy on me. What would you do??
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    03-09-2011, 12:09 PM
First - thank goodness you are okay. Sometimes freak accidents happen even when it's no fault of rider or horse. Some things are just unpredictable.

As far as getting this out of your head, id say do trust games with your horse. Build the trust with him - between each other. So that he trusts you too and you can learn to communicate without words or signals but through thought. Someone else posted about their connection with their horse when they can basically "feel" their horse's thoughts and it really hit home with me. There are some horses I trust and others I don't.

Most importantly give yourself time. I feel that this is something you can't set a deadline for or a due date, but you need to progress as YOU feel comfortable. If you rush it, things will usually just get messier. Remember to breathe, and learn to communicate with your horse and work through this together.

Lots of luck and love to you!
    03-09-2011, 12:09 PM
After all of that, do you still consider riding your youngster an acceptable risk? If the answer is no, then nothing in the world would convince me to get back up on him again.

Riding is supposed to be fun. Sure, it's not without its risks, as any of us who have been riding a long time know. It's not if you're going to get hurt, but when and how badly.

However, you got broken up pretty badly, and you don't have just yourself to think of should you become paralyzed or dead. You have a husband and family who need and love you. Is riding that particular horse worth dying or becoming paralyzed for?

It's not my decision to make for you, but if it were me, I'd find an older, trained to the hilt horse, and leave the youngster to someone else to ride. It has nothing to do with blaming or not blaming the horse. Once you stop trusting them, it's game over in my opinion.
    03-09-2011, 12:31 PM
Originally Posted by Speed Racer    
After all of that, do you still consider riding your youngster an acceptable risk? If the answer is no, then nothing in the world would convince me to get back up on him again.

Riding is supposed to be fun...Once you stop trusting them, it's game over in my opinion.
Amen! After an experience like yours, I don't know how I could ever really trust the horse again. Maybe that is just me. The thought of riding should make you smile, and an experience like yours doesn't fade in months. I'd be looking for a different horse, one that could make me eager to go ride again.
    03-09-2011, 12:42 PM
CJ82Sky - What kind of games did you do?

It really was a freak kind of accident! He is an amazing youngster - nothing scares him, you can throw things at him, garbage trucks can go by, it can be storming, and he won't care. I also know that I should have listened to my instincts and given him that walk break sooner, but I think you are right, and I need to just give him and me the time.

Speed Racer - I totally understand what you are saying, and I have gone through those thoughts over and over in my head. I do trust him - but I also know he is a horse, and even very solid, older horses, are still horses. My second horse is like that - I've had him for 11 years and have trained him since he is 4, he has 6 year olds riding him, and was a Special Olympics horse contestant when we were still in Germany - but even he has his days when a garbage bag seems oh so scary.
I have done extensive work with the youngster since he was hurt 2 years go and spent 4 months in a footcast, so all of his rehab was just him and me.

Even after our accident, he just stood there. He didn't run off or anything, and I know he just lost his balance - everyone who was watching agrees.

I think just listening to my gut feeling is a big message I got out of this! Does anyone have a similar experience though?
    03-09-2011, 12:58 PM
I say always listen to your gut. I didn't once and let my horse go over a small jump. Found out the hard way he really DID have back issues... and my knee got reinjured. *sigh*

There's parelli trust games (not that im a huge fan of parelli as a marketer but the trust stuff makes sense). Also check out equisearch.com for more ideas.

It really sounds like it's not a trust issue between you - that he is calm - and that it was truly a freak accident. Trust your gut and listen to your horse and go from there :)

accident, advice

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