Warning: the details are really bad....
Dear Riders, fellow club members and friends,
I am writing this letter to each of you tonight after having witnessed a horrible accident this past weekend. It happened in New York - a weekend "get away" with family reunion and wedding we were attending, but the best thing was we were meeting with friends I've made over the years back where I was raised as a kid. I couldn't wait. We all met at Mendon Ponds, a beautiful park I'm sure, to ride together. We never got to ride. A series of calamities happened that will forever change our lives and snuffed the life of one of our riders. She never got to go home to her son.
One of the horses had a bad time in one of the trailers, so a couple of the other horses were spooked. One of the riders, Ann got on her horse to try to settle it down and ride it down a bit before we rode off. She was not wearing a helmet. Another horse, the same one who had problems in the trailer, bucked his rider off and in doing so the saddle slipped, sending the horse flying around the parked vehicles, close to a road and eventually, as the saddle was still hanging under its belly, the horse took off for parts unknown (later he was caught and has some lacerations, but otherwise survived). Ann did not. Somehow, her head was smashed against a low limb on a tree, the next thing we knew, she was lying on the ground. What we thought was her breathing was actually her blood pumping out of her body as her brain was no longer functioning to tell the rest of the body to shut down. We didn't know all that and of course did everything we could, thinking she was still alive. Part of her brain were on the front of her along with a lot of blood.
Why am I sending you this message? Because those of us who were her friends, who were there are still in mourning with this tragedy. Could it have been avoided - we don't know. But what we do know is that a helmet would at least have protected her head and multiple head injury was listed as the cause of death. So, the next time you think that wearing a helmet is not cool or for sissies - try to stop being so selfish about your beauty and think about what an accident like this does to everyone else around you. Thank God she died, as there wasn't much brain left on her left side. Does this sound gruesome? I hope so, because as I'm writing this, I'm crying so hard I can't read what I'm writing. Please, wear a helmet when you ride. The image of Ann lying on the ground with bits of her brain splattered around in a pool of blood is am image that will be with me for years. Please, put on your helmets - think of those who will find you, those you leave behind, your friends and relatives. They care - and maybe you are doing what you want to do, but there are those of us left who need to try to go on with our lives who will forever be left with a bloody, gruesome scene that will never go away.
PLEASE - WEAR A HELMET.
FYI – on this same line of thought, I met a family this past summer at a clinic. Just 2 days before her husband and young son were riding and were on the edge of a road on their way home from the ride. The horses were behaving, and they were having a nice ride, but it was dusk and they needed to get home. Around the bend came a car – he saw the husband’s horse, but thought he was alone and ended up not seeing and hitting the boy’s horse – the child went flying one direction the horse the other. The horse was killed on the spot as it rolled over the car. The boy doesn’t remember much about the actual accident after he hit the ground – however he does know the ONLY reason he walked away from this horrible accident was because his Dad made him put his helmet on that day – a practice that was not always followed in this family. They came to visit us at the clinic that day and shared their story at lunch – the boy, still sad about his lost horse, and they brought the shattered helmet with them. Had that boy not been wearing his helmet this 8yo child would be dead or seriously brain damaged. The horse and rider did nothing wrong other than being out a little too late on their ride home, the horse never would have done anything to hurt that child – but circumstances are NOT always under your control and NEVER be lulled into the thought that you are not going to come off of your horse, you can’t control everything.