I know every rider in the world knows that riding horses always comes with risks, they are an animal with their own mind and strength greater than what we as riders can handle at times, but I don't think people realise how lucky we are, or how wrong something could have gone, until somebody near you, or yourself, has been the victim of an accident.
It hit me very close to home both yesterday and today, as my neighbour, one of my friends sisters, rode up the road on a horse who is usually ridden up the road in a halter and nothing more. This horse is led up and down the road by a leadrope attatched to her cover and never puts a foot wrong, some could almost say she was dead-broke and bombproof, but to me a horse is never bombproof.
On this occasion, something happened that we will never fully understand as both rider and horse walked up the road at 5pm yesterday. For whatever reason, the horse reared right up and flipped over backwards, landing on the rider, who landed on the road surface as a milk tanker come around the corner 500m away, to see the commotion and stop his truck and trailer. He was not travelling fast, as he stopped far before the horse and rider, with no skid marks. An ambulance was called, and my father was called by the milk company for assistance, when he got to the scene, my aunt was there with the girl, who was only semi-conscious in the recovery position, with blood everywhere as the ambulance arrived.
We were informed later that night, that she was in a coma, had a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain and internal injuries, she had also been airlifted to Wellington hospital and put on life support.
All day she went through my mind, the question always beginning with "why?" and me hoping she would be alright and recover. Sadly that was not the case.
I was informed, when I was picked up from school, that at 1am this morning, her medicine was stopped, and even while her life support was still attatched, her heart could not cope, went mental, and she passed away between 1am and 2am this morning. Less than 10 hours after the initial accident.
I always thought that stuff like this would never happen to me, but after having somebody I know, somebody who's horse I have cared for, who's sister I am friends with, who's family is so down to earth and friendly, pass away in such a tragic accident, it has really made me think twice.
She was wearing her helmet, and even this did not save her life. She was only very young, early 20's at the very most, had a good social life, had done well in school, and this happened to her.
It's a very sad and scary thing for me, so I cannot even begin to imagine how her family and friends feel, so hugs and prayers to the family, and Rachel is in a better place now, and died doing what she loved the most.
Now, with it being spring and my horse being more unpredictable than usual, I will be thinking twice about everything I do with and around him.
RIP Rachel, gone but never forgotten.