Friday, November 28, 2008

OK, guess I'll start wearing my helmet again

About twenty minutes into our schooling session today, Willow bolted, alternating high speed galloping with crowhopping. I stayed aboard for two circuits around the arena, but she finally managed to throw me into the wall. I don't really blame her; not too far away there were two bulldozers lifting dug-up tree stumps and dumping them into a dump truck. It was noisy, with an extra-loud CLANG! every four or five minutes. Willow had been spooking with every clang, but she had also been coming back to me, or so I thought. Sometimes she is very deceptive about just how much tension she is harboring.

I hit the wall first with my hip and right arm, and then with my head (which I was trying really hard to protect, but I just hit too fast). I think I was out for a few seconds, and then I sat up quickly to make sure Willow wasn't galloping straight at me. She wasn't -- just passaging and blowing at the far end of the arena. I was way woozy, so I laid on my back in the dirt for awhile. Then I got up slowly (ow) and made my way to Willow, who seemed relieved to see me, stopped passaging, and walked over to me. I had a strong urge to get back on, but I kept having white-out conditions behind my eyeballs, so I called it quits and we went back to the barn. Luckily some friends were there, so they tacked Willow off and took me to the emergency room. I'm sure that's just what they wanted to do on their day off.

Diagnosis: mild concussion and two spectacular hematomas. Lessons learned: don't overface your young horse with bulldozers and clanging. And, wear your helmet, which I will start doing again, perhaps as soon as tomorrow, as the doc cleared me to ride if I'm able to clamber up into the saddle.


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Oh no! Are they going to watch those hematomas? That sounds serious. I'm glad you didn't break anything and can still ride. Take care.

dp said...

Ooch. Glad to hear that you're mostly OK, but take good care over the coming days. Something similar happened to me in my riding prime. Horse got stun by a wasp, bolted out of the dressage ring and I stayed on in semi-control until he tripped and went down on an old piece of farm equipment hidden in the grass. Wasn't wearing a helmet and managed to walk away with nothing but a broken collar bone. The horse was also miraculously OK. I have always ridden with a helmet since. Always.

halfpassgirl said...

The hematomas are big, puffy, very colorful, and exceedingly painful, but nothing serious. I was mostly worried that my brains were scrambled, because they felt pretty scrambled. But, luckily, nothing serious there either. And I will be wearing my helmet religiously from now on. Willow's the biggest horse I've ever ridden, and I now realize I'm not strong enough to stop her when she grabs the bit. Live and learn!

Back in the saddle said...

That must have been terrifying. I'm so happy that everything ends up pretty much ok for you and Willow. Take good care of yourself.

Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

Oh man, that sucks. For you and Willow. She must have been completely panicked!

Take GOOD care of yourself. Concussions are scary.

And thanks for reminding us all to keep those helmets OTTB seems pretty solid but he's still a horse.

Jana said...

By all means, protect the brains! Glad to hear you're ok. Hope you had a swell Thanksgiving.

beth666ann said...

Glad you're okay; that sounds very scary! You must stay in good health so you can come visit us all!

Oregon Equestrian said...

I'm glad your fall wasn't any worse. Yikes! I just took two months off from riding due to a broken wrist (longeing has its own hazards).

When boarding at a hunter barn we only wore our helmets for over-fence work. Then our trainer came off a green horse that resulted in a bad concussion. She never fell of anything! We figured if it could happen to her, it could happen to one of us even easier. I've never ridden without a helmet since.

I have a young friend who is alive because his motorcycle helmet took the brunt of his fall and cracked in two.

So please wear the beanie when riding.