Fear - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 07-14-2013, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Virginia
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Earlier this week I was riding with two friends and one got bucked off, knocked unconscious, stopped breathing and the other friend did CPR for what seemed like a lifetime while I was on the phone with 9-11. Our friend was taken to the hospital. She's beat up, concussion, cuts and stitches, a broken sternum but is going to be ok.

Not so sure I am. I have not ridden since, went to the barn today and decided not to ride. I'm not sure I ever will again, after 50 years of riding. Has anyone else had this happen? Did you get over it?
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-14-2013, 03:59 PM
Join Date: May 2013
Location: North Carolina
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How horrible. I can imagine how scared you all were/are! Is riding in an arena an option? I'd spend a lot of time with my horse on the ground until I have some time to get past the initial shock. Then do a short walk ride with company even on foot beside me for a bit. Baby steps. And on a quiet horse.

I've come off Dixie a couple times, but all were extreme circumstances where almost any horse would react and all she did was an initial spook I just didn't stay on, no bucking or running off then stands quietly. She is about as dead broke, bomb proof - ok LAZY as you can get. Don't know if your horse is the same, but if not, maybe you can "borrow" one.

Talking about your experience and fears is healthy too.
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post #3 of 17 Old 07-14-2013, 04:07 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Uk
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Omg i hope she is ok,, send my best wishes,, i have been there and had a very nasty accident and was knocked out,, it has took me years to get my confidence back, i have just got back in the saddle after years of getting used to being with and around horses, i rode out the other day,(with my horse on a lead rope,) and i was shaking like a leaf, he had a saddle on,, today i went bare back on him and i loved it i even had a canter, i think i am scared of the saddle and stirrups as i feel 'trapped' does that sound silly to any body?? I felt so much confident bare back than i did in the saddle,,,, i hope your freind recovers well and you are ok too x
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-14-2013, 04:40 PM
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Georgia
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I think witnessing that kind of accident is more mentally traumatic than being in the accident. My dad was in a very serious accident and he is back to riding, the guy he was with rode a couple more times but has since given it up. I don't have any advice, but wanted to let you know that I think it is pretty normal.
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-14-2013, 06:45 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
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It's normal to feel a bit traumatized after seeing an accident. Heck, last time I feel off my horse was over a year ago. My husband wasnt even there and he's still traumatized about it! I ended up breaking my helmet mostly in half. No concussion. Troxel will have my money forever!

That being said, what helps with fear is tools in your toolbox to combat the fear. Are you wearing a helmet when you ride? Proper riding shoes? You might even want to consider a riding vest (pricey and can be awkward to get used to but they do help). Heck you can even get the riding vest with airbags in it.

What's your riding experience? Maybe some lessons with a trainer that will teach you how to control situations like that - how to discourage bucking and rearing.

First you have to WANT to get over the fear. I think you can do it if you are patient with yourself.

Good luck. Jingles for your friend.
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post #6 of 17 Old 07-14-2013, 07:11 PM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: yankee ct where we live forever
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I wrote about three falls I had this year, two on horseback, one where I literally ran myself into a wall by tripping on a rubber backed runner and that was the worst fall of all of them, although the dressage one was pretty fierce.

They happened within a few weeks of one another.

Each fall cut into my confidence.

Now each time I mount, I have a moment. I can FEEL my hesitation. My heart races. My chest gets tight. I put my foot in the stirrup and lift up and when I plunk my big butt in the saddle, I breathe out. Then I move forward.

I know this sport can be dangerous. I take precautions. I AM VERY VERY CAUTIOUS. I check everything - my girth, my stirrup length, my seat, if I don't care for how I feel, I stop. I don't do anything more than I think I can do. And still, there are no guarantees and I know it because I KNOW IT now. I've been on my back looking up at the ceiling so I know.

I can't say to you ride. I can say go slowly. Go groom your horse. Spend time with him or her. Go into the stall and relax with your favorite, talk, groom, feed them treats and pick their hooves and brush their manes and tails.

Halter your horse and walk around. Talk. Tell him or her what's on your mind. I know that sounds nuts but why not. They love that stuff and if you love horses, so do you.

If you never rode again, then you'll never ride again it would not be the be all end all of the world, but you don't have to give up horses either. you can spend time with them. you can go to a rescue barn and help out. THere's a lot of things you can do with horses if you don't want to ride.

I'm 66 and I'm new and gung ho. At some point, this will not be a lope lope gung ho crazy riding me. At some point it will be I think I better pleasure ride today. Or even I think I better go help at a rescue because my back hurts or I don't want to risk a fall. Who knows?

But riding isn't all of it. horses are, I think.
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-14-2013, 07:15 PM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: yankee ct where we live forever
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Oh gosh, and to your friend, I wish a fast recovery. That was an awful fall. it's what all riders dread and you saw it. So yeah, you're going to be scared.

Tell your friend there are people here wishing her well. And praying for her.

And for all of you. That was a hell of a day. I'm sorry you all had to experience it.

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post #8 of 17 Old 07-14-2013, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Virginia
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Thanks everyone. I can't get the image of her lifeless. I was directly behind her and immediately got off. My darling horse, who has a tendency to not always behave, stopped when asked and stood quietly as her horse ran off bucking. When I got to her, she was breathing, kind of. I talked to her and asked her to please not move (she landed head first, split her Troxel helmet) and I opened her mouth to clear it as it was obvious breathing was abnormal. She then exhaled, gurgling blood, and her eyes fixed, her pupils dilated and I ran around in a circle screaming she's dying,omg she's dying. When I looked at her again, she was grey and that's when our friend got to her and started CPR. It all happened in about 45 seconds.

So I won't go into any more gruesome details and I will try to make something positive come out of this. To answer a question above, we all always wear helmets, and everyone who gets on a horse should . She would be dead if not. Everyone should carry a cell phone. My injured friend had hers and my other friend did too but I didn't. Injured friends cell died on impact. The other friend had a iPhone,only for 2 days, and wasn't sure how to use it. And for those of us who are older, reading glasses need to be carried. My friend with the phone couldn't see it, neither could I but I luckily had used my husbands iPhone a few times and muscle memory got me to where I could dial 9-11. Everyone should take a class in CPR but realize that not everyone is going to be able to do it. When you are panicked, you react differently than you think you will, I know, I did.

I think doing ground work is an excellent suggestion, thanks. I will do that tomorrow and am feeling not so much self-pressure to get back I'm the tack which helps.
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post #9 of 17 Old 07-14-2013, 08:00 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
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I am so sorry for your friend, and for you. it sounds very traumatic.
When you friend did CPR, did she do chest compressions, or just inflate the lungs? I ask because if she had a broken sternum, chest compressions could puncture her lungs or heart.
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post #10 of 17 Old 07-14-2013, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Virginia
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She did both. I could not get a pulse on her neck vein, her head was turned hard to the right, so I feel like if there was a pulse I would have felt it. She first did just breathing and then 9-11 instructed to switch to 2 breaths and 10 compressions. Doctors feel her sternum was broken during compressions, which has really upset my friend who did the CPR. The three of us are closer than some sisters are. We've ridden together for 25+ years, vacationed together, been through bad accidents, cheating husbands, divorce, death of friends and family, and all the happy and successful times that we worked hard for.

So, how does a person now when it's dangerous to do compressions? Dang, that's scary...
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