I’ve fallen off before, the kind everyone has: a spooking horse jumping sideways catching you of guard, going over a jump your horse descided you could go over by yourself, loosing your balance/stirrups and those random falls where you end up on the ground and you’re not quite sure how exactly it happened. You end up with arena sand down your breeches, bruised bum or hips and the wind knocked out of you. You brush yourself off, check for any damage and find your horse (if your horse is like mine he will be eating grass somewhere or has taken himself back to the stable) and get back on. Always get back on the horse, except when you can’t.
I had had a great lesson and to finish off a friend of mine and I went for a canter out the back of the cross country course. I have never had a problem cantering on Patrick except getting him to canter. Patrick is a typical lesson horse, he tries to get away with doing the least amount of work possible so I didn’t expect any trouble. My friend was riding an ex-polo pony who is beautiful but likes to go fast so she took the lead and took off. Patrick decided he wanted to follow his friend and decided to gallop (I’ve never galloped before and feeling his stride change beneath me was the most amazing feeling) we were ridding down an alley so when I couldn’t pull him up I let him go. When we exited the alley I went to turn Patrick nose to knee to get him back under control.
That’s all I remember and it came back to me in bits and pieces. I remember thinking “oh shit, I’m going to fall!” And then I was face down in the dirt, I lost consciousness for a coule of seconds. I managed to sit up and my friend came over and asked if I was ok and she was going to get help. Apparently one of the girls that works at the property came out and picked me up on a quad bike, they sat me down, checked me over and handed me my phone to call my aunt (my emergency contact). The next memory I have is being on the phone to my aunt with no idea how I got there, apparently I was pretty out of it and someone descided I had to go to the hospital.
I got checked into the emergency room, a little girl in emergency after a bad reaction to a vaccine asked if I had a tattoo on my face, at that point I hadn’t seen the damage but her reaction suggested some bad bruising but the doctors were more concerned about my neck which is where I had most of the pain. After I was admitted to the ward, they took my vitals and cleared me of any serious spinal injury, I was administered pain killers and ice for my badly swollen face and they kept coming in and asking me questions every half hour like “what day was it?” and “do you know where you are?” At about 5pm they discharged me with strict instructions that if I had any dizziness or blurred vision I had to come back in and someone had to keep an eye on me for at least 24 hours. My official diagnosis was whip lash and a concussion.
Now I have never been hit by a truck but the next morning I could have sworn I had been. The next day I also had a giant bruise on my left hip and a sore ankle which turned out to be strained ligaments, I can only assume that I didn’t notice before because I was in too much pain from my neck. I took a week off school and two weeks off riding, I also became a pro at covering my giant black eye with concealer and rocking sunglasses as a fashion statement.
It’s hard to see in this photo but in conjunction to the warped plastic there is a significant amount of impacted foam and the visor was also bent. The doctor said if I wasn’t wearing it I would have broken my nose, I could have broken/fractured my eye socket or skull and would have had more severe head injuries.
Note: you should always replace your helmet after a serious accident. A serious impact can reduce the effectiveness of your helmet in any subsequent falls. Even if your helmet doesn’t have any obvious signs of damage if it has taken any sort of serious impact have it checked by a professional just to make sure.
“Sometimes you have to go through the worst in order to get to the best.” -Unknown