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ohmyitschelle 03-26-2009 08:53 PM

Broke my leg - needing advice.
So I thought I'd come on here and see if I could get some advice. A week ago I had a freak accident on my mare and broke both lower bones in my right leg. I've undergone surgery and am now sporting a titanium rod in my leg etc. I know I have a long recovery ahead of me, but the days are slowly getting better.
This isn't my problem. I understand only I can make the decision to get back in the saddle, but I'm hoping there are others out there that have been in my position before and can help shed some light.
I'm absolutely petrified to get back in the saddle... my accident is a nightmare to me and although it was not at the real fault of my mare, I feel sick just at the thought of riding again.
This is saddening to me. I do have major nerve problems but had been going SO well, infact, I had just ridden a Open Medium Dressage horse earlier that week and realised just how improved my riding was. I had come so far to overcome my nerves from falling off my gelding late last year and on my mare I felt so safe... like I say it wasn't something that could've been controlled, she really panicked and I couldn't get her back. Now I feel like I can't move on from it... everytime I think of my darling mare, I have flashes of what happened. I know it's early days and I have yet to see her (tomorrow thank god!) so I'm hoping that will change things for me. I never got to check that she was okay on account that I couldn't move and was taken away by ambulance.
All my friends are saying "don't worry won't be long till you're back up there" but tbh I don't know if I can. I'd like to be able to try but for now it leaves me feeling so sick. I'm not sure what I need to do.

Basically can anyone relate to this? If so, what helped you along? Did you spend a lot of time on the ground, getting associated with your horse again, remembering why you love this sport so much? Or did you just get on with it and get back up there and pray nothing went wrong? Something else?
I would dearly love to hear. I have 2 months of non weight bearing so I have a lot of recovery time ahead of me. But I just thought I'd write this up and see if anyone can help. I don't want to have to sell my two babies, but I don't think it'd be fair on them if I don't plan to ride again.
Thanks in advance.
Chelle x

farmpony84 03-26-2009 09:04 PM

I'm sorry about your accident! That is just plain awful. My best friend tacked her warmblood up about 2 years ago (the mare had never been saddled) and she leapt forward, knocked my buddy down and we THINK she either stepped on or kicked her lower leg with her hind. The bones were shattered and she too had a titanium rod put in her leg. She was walking with only one crutch about a week later. (she is a tiny girl and in really good shape). It seems like it took a year to get the ok to ride. Maybe it wasnt that long but it seems like it was.

Anyway, she sent her mare to a professional for 30 days but didn't have the confidence to get on her so she sent her to another professional for another 30 days about a month or two later. This guy MADE her get on. She was sick to her stomache and absolutely terrified. But once she got on, she said it felt so good all the fear melted away. She still was nervous mounting for sometime after that but it's been about 2 years, maybe even three and she's completely over her fear. When it comes time to get back on, the best thing to do is have someone there that you trust completely and just believe in yourself. you'll be able to do it...

Good luck and I hope you feel better soon... Is your entire back of your leg that deep ugly purple color yet?

wanderlust 03-26-2009 09:19 PM

I'm very sorry to hear about this accident. I don't think there is a magic recovery method for nerves, but I think time will help. The nightmare feeling will pass. If while you are recovering, you think about riding, and work through that fear on the ground, while riding isn't even a reality, it may help when it is time to get back in the saddle. Considering you have a bit of a recovery ahead, you don't even need to think of this for a bit yet. I know it sounds so ridiculous, but I thought of this like a romantic relationship. When a bad breakup happens, it is the most frightening and painful thing. You don't really want to imagine loving again. But time heals the wounds, and eventually you feel ready to love again. Yea, I'm sappy, but I have a friend who just went through a break-up, and she can't even imagine wanting someone else again. I know time will change her feelings.

ohmyitschelle 03-26-2009 09:26 PM

Thanks Farmpony... I've had that suggested to me. I am getting my mare properly trained now. I've done everything with her myself and we'd just started working on contact and she had turned into a little toad... I was hoping we had sorted it, but shes really nappy, so I'm gonna get my mate/instructor to just sort her out first and then see if I will hop back up. I'm sure I'll be able to find the good in riding again...
Lucky her... I'm a heavy person so I am currently using a wheelchair and a walking frame. But I also have a really bad knee in that same leg, so thats why I've gotta do what I am.
My leg is not an unusual colour that I can see! I have this hugeeee cast on... it weighs sooo much. The swelling has gone down so my main complaint is actually my ankle and being unable to flex it.

ohmyitschelle 03-26-2009 09:28 PM

Thank you Wonderlust, you're right I don't need to be thinking of this so early now... but I keep looking at my photos cos I'm a little obsessed lol. I agree, I think time will help... but I just wanted to see if there were others out there that could help... thanks so much again.

farmpony84 03-26-2009 09:45 PM

They gave you a cast! Yuck... she got really lucky and had no cast. Her leg was so ugly and huge but I was amazed... I had no idea you could shatter it one day and be walking on it a week later. I will say she took an entire year to get the flexibiltiy back in her ankle and that was her biggest complaint. Also her knee hurts every now and then and she thinks maybe it has to do w/ how they put the rod in...

ohmyitschelle 03-27-2009 12:14 AM

Well I'm nervous to see what's under there... my cast which is called a backslab (its got just slants of cast to help with swelling) was too long and restricted the use of my knee... so they had to cut it back a bit... I got to see more of whats around the top of my lower leg... so much for "small" cuts... am kinda apprehensive for whats further down.

smrobs 03-27-2009 05:47 AM

Yep, I have been there (in a way). When I was 9, I was riding a younger (6 year old) horse for a doctor friend of my family's. He was looking to buy it for his daughters who were both younger than me and wanted some time under saddle with someone who knew what they were doing ( Anyway, my brother and I were loping down a dirt road when he saw the boogyman of to his right. He darted left and I didn't. When I hit the ground, I shattered both bones in my left arm and all those lovely little bone fragments went through my wrist and up into my hand. Major deformity. Had to have 3 surgeries, a metal pin, 4 steel screws, and an external fixator to get it to stay where it was supposed to. After the first surgery, the ortho told my parents that I would probably never have use my pinky, ring, or middle fingers due to nerve damage. Luckily, he was wrong. I was sooo scared to get back on but only about 3 days after coming home from the hospital, there was cattle work to be done. I had no choice but to get back on and my Dad just said two words to me..........."Your gonna". I didn't have to ride the same horse because he went back to the original owners the next day but I was scared of all horses. Thankfully I had trusty Flash to fall back on. He is the perfect kid horse, bombproof without being a dead-head. After I got back into the saddle, that fear just melted away and was soon forgotten. I swore after that accident that I would NEVER ride another gray horse. You can see by my avatar how long that lasted. LOL.

The way that I see things like that is that we all get hurt, no matter what we do. I don't believe in fate per-se but I believe that a person is destined to face certain challenges in their lives. It is how you rise to those challenges that defines what kind of person you are. This is one of those times and at the risk of sounding harsh, you have to choose whether to let the fear rule your life or tell yourself "NO! I will not be scared. I will not be deterred. I love riding and that is all that matters." You have some time to think about it while you heal up, but like I recently told a friend of mine, the hardest part is swinging your leg over that first time. Everything else is easy.

Skyhuntress 03-27-2009 12:43 PM

2 years ago, the horse I was leasing bolted, and I got tossed into a wall.
I broke my arm in 4 places, and the doctors told me that there would always be some residual paralysis because of how close the break was to nerves. They weren't sure I would be able to ride again. My recovery time was long. I broke my arm in July, and was in a BIG (it was 33lbs actually, as they were trying to rely on gravity to pull the break into place) cast until the beginning of December, where I finally got put into a brace. Fortunately though, I regained mobility of my arm.

In January, I decided to try riding again. Same horse. For me, it needed to be the same horse, because I needed to be able to face up to him. During my recovery, I put him into half training, so was hoping that would make a difference. Honestly? I was so scared. For 3 days, my stomach was in knots. I kept on hearing the doctors saying "paralysis" and wondering if it was worth possibly damaging myself again like that. Ultimately though, I decided that I wanted to ride again.

I threw up twice before I was able to get back on the horse. I won't tell you it was sweet and easy. It really wasn't. I was bloody scared and nervous. But I did it. I had my trainer put me on a lunge line, took a deep breath and told myself to just get it over with. So I did it. Rode for the first time in nearly 6 months. Walked/trotted/cantered (cantering was super scary for me.) Swung off my horse and promptly went to throw up again :lol: It took me a few rides before I felt somewhat comfortable.

Honestly, I can't tell you what to do. Riding is a dangerous sport. You will get hurt. And sometimes, you get hurt badly. And fear can be overpowering if you let it. Ultimately, its going to come down to a) if you even WANT to ride again and b) if you can manage to conquer your fear enough to get back on. Because once you're on, you've overcome the biggest hurdle; yourself.

RedHawk 03-30-2009 10:06 PM

Sorry about the accident! I've had a few falls, one particularly nasty and one that could have been, although the 2nd time was my own fault (racing a young ottb up a hill with lots of roos was NOT a good idea :lol:).
I'm a nervous rider as well, and I would suggest just take it slow. Do any of your friends have an old bommbproof horse you could ride for a bit to regain your confidence? Once you're up to riding that is.
The first fall I had was when I was 10, and although it wasn't terrible I got amild concussion and it scared the crap out of me. I wanted to stop having lessons and quit horses altogether, but my mum said no, that I HAD to get back on and have a few more lessons. For about 6 months I only walked and trotted on an old bombproof gelding, and slowly regained my confidence.
Don't stress, just take one thing at a time, you'll get there! :D Keep us updated.

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