We are not invincible.. It's sad
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. :cry:
It really does make you think...
But it's all very unpredictable. You can never know, what or when will hit you, even with all the possible percautions.
Holly An accident is a risk we must potentially pay for playing with horses. Fact.
I can understand why you as a young person are so upset by the event you describe but as you so rightly say it came unexpectedly. There are other hazards all around us which can lead to accidents and somehow we must balance the risks of being alive with the enjoyment of life.
I read elsewhere on the Forum about events where the horse is out of control, yet somehow the humans involved don't see the risk presented by a horse being held in close proximity. All I and others can do is to help show them the risks they run when playing with horses. Thankfully similar incidents to the one you have described are rare - vehicle accidents are much more common.
I hope you will not give up riding but hopefully you will be a little more cautious.
Thank you for bringing the accident to the attention of members of the Forum.
If I had written as you have written, I might have been thought of as a miserable old fogey - a spoil sport even, whereas you have eloquently brought the risk home to us all.
We must all take especial care when around horses.
Sorry to hear of this Holly, and don't really know the words to make you feel better about things which happen.
All of us face the same fate, and the end is the same for all.
Time is a great healer, and I hope god finds a way to comfort you as you wrestle to make sense of the fate which met your friend.
Many of the trials of this earth are beyond mans ability to reason. Let faith guide you, as many things that are of this world are never to be understood.
The lead rope incident
I must make a confession.
Two years ago I was leading my horse along the narrow country lane which runs around the village in order to give her some exercise and to get her used to the hazards of rural society. She was wearing a simple rope halter.
I was holding a lead rope, attached at one end to the halter by a permanent knot. The lead rope was permanently knotted in several places along its length. The idea was that the knots would allow me to form a loop in the lead rope which would enable me to restrain her with the fingers of my hand. I had worked this system for several years. However the weakness in the method was that there was no quick release facility in either the lead rope or the halter. In theory the knots would always form a loop in the lead rope.
We were coming up to a gate into a field which there were cattle and my horse was obviously agitated but this was exactly the sort of situation which I wanted to give my mare experience of. We walked on.
Suddenly she reared up, which she had never done before and I lost my footing. I was jerked forwards off my feet and I fell face down onto the tarmac just a few feet in front of the mare who was still rearing on her hind legs. Her steel shod feet were striking the ground a matter of inches from my head. I suddenly found that could not let go of the lead rope. The noose had slipped over the knot and the pressure on my fingers was enormous as the rope tightened around my hand. All there was between me and the buckle under the horse’s jaw was the length of my arm plus approximately twelve inches of lead rope.
As I lay prone on the ground I thought my skull was about to be crushed by the steel shod feet. The forces involved were massive - as a minimum the horse’s bodyweight of 500 kilos. My skull would have been split into fragments and my brain would have been splattered over the tarmac. I would have been trampled to death.
I had been so - so - so stupid. How could a man of my experience with horses have made such a silly, stupid, naïve, fundamental, mistake?
As it happened I called out to her: “stand“. She suddenly stopped rearing. She was puzzled as to why I was on the ground. Suddenly I was able to stand up and I managed somehow to loosen the lead rope enough to extract my hand. Together we walked home. Undoubtedly she had stepped back away from me so as not to trample me. I shall never ever forget that incident.
Of course I paid the penalty for gross stupidity with a crushed hand. The hospital staff told me that amazingly no bones were broken but that I might suffer nerve damage and only time would tell. The bruising took months to settle
What can I say? I am lucky to still be here. This was by far and away the most dangerous accident I have had in almost forty years of playing with horses. And it happened when leading a horse at the walk.
I'm sorry to hear that happened!
Yeah, I agree that sometimes people think they're invincible. But getting very hurt or dying are things that equestrians face every day. For some people, it's part of the attraction of riding. For others, it's a carefully calculated risk. However, when freak accidents like this happen, there often was no way to stop them. I'm not super religious or anything but I think that perhaps fate often plays a part in these kind of things.
Very sorry to hear this, what a terrible thing to happen. Unfortunately not the only story of similar nature. This is why I am petrified of a horse that has learnt to rear. Because exactly this, can happen so easily.
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