Any advice? Riding after a bad injury
Ok, I'm 57 years old and kind of overweight. I fell in love with riding about 5 years ago when we stayed at the Rocking Horse Ranch in upstate NY and rode the whole weekend. About 2 yrs ago I fell on a local trail ride and didn't get hurt. As a matter of fact I jumped back on the horse out of embarassment, the first time without a mounting block.
Anyway, I've been taking English riding lessons for about a year. About two weeks ago during a lesson the horse that I was riding stumbled and as I tried to stay on he jumped up, went sideways and I was thrown (or fell) to the ground. I ended up in the hospital for 4 days and have 6 broken ribs, a broken collarbone, and a bruised lung. I am home now but still in a lot of pain. As I guess it's normal I'm seriously considering giving up riding, except maybe for occasional Western trail rides. I NEVER WANT TO GO THROUGH THIS AGAIN!! Not to mention if I run out of sick days it will be a financial disaster as I have 2 young children. I'm even thinking of getting rid of my two motorcycles thinking if a horse accident is so bad, imagine a bike accident.
Is it normal to have such bad injuries? Should I be tested for osteoporosis. Could it be my age?
Anybody here go through this and how did you handle it?
By the way, I'm not sure if I was walking, trotting, or riding 2-point at the time of the fall. It happened too fast. I know I was doing all three during the lesson.
Wow, sorry to hear about your injuries. It's really scary to get hurt and not even remember for sure what happened; you don't know what you need to be doing differently or whether it was just one of those things. But I have to say "Good for you" that you've taken lessons and explored your interests! I think each of us has to decide how much risk we're willing to take, and of course there are lots of things you can do to decrease the risks if you decide you're still passionate about riding.
As far as whether your injuries are worse than average, I think that's a question for your doctor or your trainer. From personal experience, I have had some broken bones in my early 40's and some bad falls (concussions, no breaks) in my 50's. The ones in my 50's slowed me down more than the earlier ones. I'm still active around horses, riding and driving. I am a LOT more careful since I am not as fearless as I was in my younger years, and the ground seems harder these days.
After a broken backbone in my late 30's, I took up driving (shorter fall to the ground if you have a wreck). The falls in my 50's were when I was getting back into trail riding, starting a green horse and was personally out of shape, out of balance, etc. So.....not a good match for me and my wise husband grounded me after a concussion, until I had a horse that was a better match for me. Today, my riding horse is shorter, calmer, stouter (easier for me to stay centered), 13 years old, very seasoned and not spooky. I took lessons, lost weight and try to stay in better shape, am very careful who I ride with, as I want them to be as careful and responsible as I am. If you think about driving defensively on your motorcycle I'm sure you'll realize that you do a lot of things to make yourself safer, although there's nothing you can do to guarantee your safety. It's the same with equestrian activities.
The choice of the horses you ride, riding style whether English versus Western (or Aussie - very hard to fall off an Aussie saddle!), the people you ride with, the safety of the environment for riding, your emergency skills for one rein stops and emergency dismount - all those factors may help you be safer. I completely understand your situation -- it's responsible of you to ask the questions and to be thinking of the impact on your family. Good luck - this isn't something that you have to decide right away...
Sometimes bad accidents happen and you wonder wth. I broke my leg in Feb of 88 and after three surgeries and numerous cast changes, I was finally out of my cast in Jan of 90. Of the 23 months I was in a cast 19 of those months were spent in a full length cast. Up to the very top of my thigh! I broke my leg and ankle in 5 places and the Achilles tendon was tore off. I was much younger than. Just 31 when it happened. So I am guessing age doesn't have much to do with healing.
I broke my back at some point ( I just had a pre-surgery physical in Sept and was told about an old compression fracture to my T9. I didn't even know I broke it so did nothing for it.
I rode in my cast, had help by having hubby toss me into the saddle, rode a mare that was extremely trustworthy and did nothing.
Best of luck to you in your decision to ride again and how to handle it. Last Sunday I broke my toe right before a ride. I rode first and than took off my boot as I knew if I rode first I would never get my boot back on. I got it on yesterday but couldn't wear it. Hurt too much but today I wore tennis shoes :)
Wicked, I know what you mean about broken toes. I had a bad mannered mare that kept me with at least one broken little toe for over a year; couldn't wear pumps at work so ended up changing my wardrobe from business suits with skirts to trousers, so that I could wear flats. The things we do for love...of riding. :-)
It's all up to you whether you wanna stop or not, some people will ride again and some won't. The only pain I've experienced was my toenail being ripped off cause I got stepped on cause I was stupid and was wearing crocs. Ask me if I'll wear crocs again though :P No But I've only been riding for a couple of years. I don't know if you believe in religion, but maybe that was god testing your courage, you never know, my opinion I'd ride again, but that's just me.
Bad injuries depend on the nature of the fall, how you landed and what surface you where on.
I've had some major injuried from what should have been a fairly minor fall, but I landed wrong. I've also had some horrific falls and walked away with only a scratch.
I've had one perticularly horrific fall from a horse that ended up with the horse ontop of me and scrabbleing, I came away with a concussion, 2 crushed discs and some gravel rash, falls like that one have killed riders but I got away with it, it is just the luck of the draw.
As for giving up, that is a very personal decision that only you can make. However falls that have such nasty conciquences are NOT a common occurance if you are riding school horses. I was riding an highly fit, extremely sharp and young event horse at the time, that is not something you will find in a riding school.
Riding after an injury
I also was injured after the horse I was riding, stumbled. I was a brand new rider. I happened to be on vacation at a dude ranch in AZ on the last day of our vacation. I fractured my back in two places.
Every single time I get on a horse now (been taking lessons for 1.5 years) I know that there is a possibility that I am going to get hurt. I think as we get older, in our 40's and 50's, we have to think that way. We don't bounce back like the younger folk.
The best horse in the world can stumble or get spooked. It's a risk you take when you ride.
But it's a risk I am willing to take. 99.9% of the time, all goes well and the feeling of contentment and joy that I get while riding outweighs the worries.
There are things you can do to minimize the risk. If you are scared to canter or trot, just walk. Speed is nice but sometimes just sitting on a horse can lower my blood pressure.
I hope to be riding well into my 60's and 70's. But I also know that the risks I am willing to take will decrease as I get older but I can still enjoy riding...just at a slower and safer pace. :D
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