I woke up that morning to Levi hollering up at my bedroom window. He had Maggie all tacked up and had already been out on a trail ride. He wanted me to come out and get Smoke so we could ride together. We weren't going to church because our well pump had broken so Dad and Grandpa were fixing that so I got into my riding clothes and hurried outside. Lydia and I went over and got Smoke and Lena. As Levi was trying to put Lena's bridle on, she pulled away and ran back across the road to the other horses. Smoke jerked her reins off the post and joined her. Maggie also managed to get loose and stepped on her reins, breaking her bridle. We caught her before she got across the road, then we caught the runaways. As I tried slipped on Lena's halter, I realized her eye was a little swollen and she wouldn't open it. Mom came out and put some drops in it, but we decided we shouldn't ride her so we put her back, then Levi and I went to the round pen to pretend we were sorting cattle...today was supposed to be our first competition. We had a lot of fun chasing make believe cows, yelling and tearing around. We got mom to come film us and after we were done doing that, Smoke was still ansy dancy because she hadn't been ridden in a few days. Mom suggested I take her out on a trail ride and run her out. Levi went to untack Maggie while I took off down the lane.
I turned at the back of the goat pasture and we ran down the lane by the pond, turned at the woods and ran through the hay field toward the corn field. About six weeks ago, Seth clocked me down the road at 25 miles an hour on Smoke and I wasn't letting her go full out. Sunday morning, we were going full out which mean it was over 30 miles and hour. As we ran toward the corn field, we had to either turn right or left. I told Smoke to turn right, but she leaned to the left, asking to turn that direction. I pulled harder to the right and she asked again to go the other way. As we were having this discussion, the corn field was suddenly infront of us. Smoke slammed on the brakes and I went hurtling over her head at thirty miles an hour. My left side struck her head and that is the last thing I remember. I don't remember hitting the ground.
While I was blacked out, Smoke had headed back to her buddies and Mom, who was with the guys at the well, saw a flash and thought Maggie got away from Levi. She started heading that way and at the same time, Seth started yelling for Dad. Levi yelled that it was Smoke without me. Seth jumped into one of the vans and took off to look for me, while Mom and Dad got into the other van.
My next memory is seeing the vans coming down the lane and thinking I should wave so they see me, but I couldn't make myself wave. I don't remember them picking me up. Seth says I asked what day it was and why I was out there, what happened and if I was riding a horse. Later I thought I was dreaming the whole thing. I wanted to wake up and couldn't, not realizing it was real. There's about half an hour that I only remember snatches of. I didn't know who Dad was. I kept asking what day it was, couldn't remember what I had done on Saturday and when asked who my best friend was, said a different name. My face was cut up and my nose was bleeding. It was obvious I had hit my head, my face was full of dirt and blood. I had just gotten a new helmet and was thinking of returning it because it was too big...actually it probably saved my life because being too big, it turned instead of my neck when I hit the ground.
After they cleaned me up, Mom asked me what hurt. I told her the only thing that hurt was back, it just ached like a sore muscles. None of us thought anything of it.
Anyway, we got in the van and headed to St. Mary's in Saginaw. When we got there, I walked in and after checking in, walked back to my room in ER. The ER doctor met us in the hall and asked me how I fell and what hurt. I told him and instantly he had me lying flat on my back, with a neck brace on, they were calling Level 2 Trauma over the intercom and my room filled with people. They started two iv lines and ordered test.
After the cat scan, the doctor came in and told us I had broken my T9 in my back. I was one centimeter away from injuring my spinal cord. I was that close to being paralyzed.
They got me a room and I wasn't allowed to be in any position other than flat on my back until the brace they ordered came. I did not need surgery thankfully.
They measured me for the brace Monday afternoon and it came Tuesday afternoon. They put it on and showed me how to strap it on. They propped me up in bed, then physical therapy came and showed me how to get out of bed and took me for a walk down the hall. They had me do some stairs, then we went back to my room. I sat in a chair and started eating lunch, then I started to feel hot and queasy. I got up to go back to bed and then had to rush to the bathroom to throw up. I felt a little shaky for awhile and after a few hours, I got up again and lasted about three minutes in a chair before feeling wooshy again. They were talking of possibly keeping me another night, but I got up a third time and did fine, so they let me go. I was so glad to be going home! I had some great nurses taking care of me. Tina was my nurse the day I went home and she was great. Len wasn't my nurse, but he popped in a couple times when they needed help moving me and everytime he had some new horse joke. "So you were horsing around? Bridle us up! Are you gonna canter out of here? Is that your carriage or buckboard?!" He was very entertaining.
So, I am very thankful I was not hurt worse. The ER doctor says he sees these horse injuries often and most are not as fortunate. I will be in the brace for three months and on restrictions for awhile longer than that.
Our first competition was supposed to tonight....I certainly won't be riding by then! I'll probably be back to riding by spring. I know I will be nervous and much more cautious when I do get back to riding. I'll start on old slow Ban and progress back to Smoke.
I'm already feeling bored. I'll use the next few months to get a lot of work done on my book. I'm glad I have something to keep me busy!
Here's some pictures of me...obviously not looking my best!