Jan 15, 2012

The Morning After

Coffee tastes as good in the morning after a horse wreck as it does after a two margarita night.  I thought I felt pretty good after soaking in hot water but when I went to roll over in the middle of the night:  Ouch!  If I had to pinpoint the most pain, it is coming from the tissue on and above my right butt cheek.  That took the impact first.  Although there might be some swelling, I see no bruising.  It is a bit numb to the touch in some areas.  I think my tailbone is okay. 


I do have to say that my beloved white German Shepherd was no doubt a contributing factor in the wreck.  Where he is normally the stellar riding partner leading the way and flushing out deer, pheasant and whatnot, when Fancy froze up and tried to turn around, his herding instinct kicked in and he went behind her barking to keep her going.  While our horses are around the dogs all the time, this probably added to Fancy’s angst.  Who knows?  But he won’t be going with me again with any horse but Windy. 


While we all have visions about being a good enough rider to be able to pick where we land, that is true up to a certain point.  I do know when I first made a conscious decision to get off, I couldn’t get enough control of her to safely do that in the fashion I hoped… you know… foot in one stirrup, the other leg swinging gracefully over and nailing perhaps a 7.5 landing.  There come a point that my mind DID tell me to get the hell off NOW because its not getting any better; she was starting to win the battle and gain some speed.  I had already lost my seat and was shifted to the right so the right side it was.  The bean field was the better option than the gravel road or driveway should she make her escape for home.  I suppose I dropped my stirrup; I don’t remember doing that – maybe it was already gone -- and I remember when going down hoping I had enough distance to get away from her feet.  I truly think the horse feels us going and gets away from us not the other way around.  But who knows.


But here is the part I want to mention without going into preaching.  No matter how good of rider we are and no matter how good we think we can fall, you can’t change the fundamental principles of physics.  When your body is being driven somewhat violently downward, so is your head.  At some point it is going to hit.  It may not with a casual fall, but when there is a lot of motion, the g-forces are stronger and even if you are a weight lifter, your neck cannot control that head from eventually hitting. 


I can still feel the fall.  Butt, shoulder and then head.  It didn’t bang on the ground, it was driven as my body slid along the dirt.  Yes, I was wearing my helmet and my right ear hurt instantly from hitting against the helmet.  And through the course of the night, I took six Advil and my head still hurt this morning when I woke up.  Not bad, but I have to think that 6 Advils did numb it a bit. 


I usually always wear a helmet.  Its as much a part of my riding tack as my boots are.  But the other night while team sorting, I didn’t.  We were inside, the arena soil was deep and soft and I was riding Windy.  Truth be known, I forgot it in my trailer and was too lazy to go get it so that is what I told myself.  And of course I wanted to be cool around the cowboys (wink).  I know I wouldn’t be as lackadaisical about it on the trail, but it was a good wake-up call for me.  I don’t care if you wear a helmet or not; just don’t have delusions that you can save your head if a wreck could happen.  With what I experienced yesterday, I could no more have kept that impact from happening than I could from having my head hit a windshield if I weren’t buckled into a car in a head-on collision.  So be careful out there. 


I did Google “fractured pelvis” and it told me, “Pelvic fractures are life-threatening injuries. It is usually sustained as a high velocity injury like falling off a great height, crush injury or a road traffic accident.”  I couldn’t help but think “all of the above”.  Although I am very sore this morning, I do feel better than I did last night.


Time for another cup of coffee. 




  1. When a horse starts crow hopping and bucking, I can usually remember and analyze my fall.

    When I come off a spooked horse, I usually just find I'm looking up at the horse, with NO IDEA how I ended up down there.

    Get well soon.


  2. Hi Tammy! Good you feel better, and I know what that pain feels like. So get better soon!

  3. Your fall sounds similar to mine in November. Nothing hurt as much as my butt. Unfortunately, I made it to the hospital in an ambulance for this one and I was diagnosed with contusions. It hurt badly for a few weeks and is still a little numb. You might want to take a trip to the doc's to get some pain pills for a week or so.

    I agree with you completely about helmets. I can't understand why people refuse to wear them, I know they are not flattering but neither is a crushed skull. It drives me crazy when I see parent's allow their children to not wear them. Anyway, if it wasn't for my helmet I don't know what would have happened to my head. In all my years of riding this is the first time I ever lost consciousness from a fall or wound up in a hospital. I'm pretty sure my head hit first. Did I mention I'm very acrobatic while in the air before sticking the landing with my head!

  4. p.s. sorry I forgot to wish you a speedy recovery, feel better soon!

  5. I have fallen twice out on the trails, both times hitting my head. My helmet sustained dents from these falls (Santa gave me a new helmet this Christmas) and I was grateful that I was wearing it. I will never consider riding without one. Take care of yourself and feel better soon.

  6. Anonymous9:40 AM

    Glad you're OK (mostly) and hope you heal up quickly - I'm with you on the helmets: every time, every ride.

  7. I'm so glad you were wearing your helmet! Such a good reminder. I'll be wearing mine again today. You just never know.
    Watch those hips. Mine still ache over 2 yrs later, and I did end up having an xray that showed nothing broken, but I think now I'm slipping discs. Because of it, I'm selling off what horses I can and riding less. It just hurts way too much.
    Hope you recover better than I did and if you can, take ibuprofen, it does reduce swelling. I live off that stuff.

  8. It's always tough going off a horse and it's really hard to prepare for. I'm glad you didn't get hurt any worse. Hope you feel better soon and it's good that you were wearing a helmet. It reminds me that I should probably buy a new one since my fall with Scout last spring.

  9. So sorry to hear you came off! Good thing you always wear your helmet though!! I hope you heal up fast and that there's no residual tension left in Fancy over what ever had her goosey in the first place.

  10. Hope you're feeling better this morning. Glad you were wearing your helmet!
    Last time I rode I had a scare & ALMOST came off. I met up with a friend that let's her dog follow along when she rides. When her dog, Cali, saw me & TAZzy riding up, she ran up towards us (very happy to see us!)
    TAZ thought this dog was coming after her & BOLTED! It took everything in me to get her stopped & not come off!
    TAZ has seen all kinds of dogs, but this time, THIS dog really had her worried!!
    A nice reminder that no matter how confident I am when riding TAZ, she still has a mind (& fears) of her own.
    Thought of you all weekend. Hope you're feeling better soon & are able to get back out there soon!

  11. I love your helmet-wearing ways. Keep it up Tammy!

  12. Very sorry about your fall. I read your most recent post, and glad that you are on the mend. Good thing you were wearing your helmet. I'm so used to wearing mine (and it saved serious injury a couple summers ago when I got bucked off and landed head first)...that I'd feel uncomfortable without it. I see a good number of English riders and trail riders wearing helmets, but the western folk are not very keen on them. I went to cattle sorting practice this weekend. I counted at least 48 riders in the arena. Only two with helments....me and a toddler being ponied by her mother. Ha!


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