It has been one month since I was kicked in the chest. One month since a random hoof flew at me and into my chest. One month since I decided to turn my horse out, forgot to let the horse out of the other paddock and walked forward vs turning around and going back to the gate….and I got kicked in the chest. My oh my how one blink can alter your reality.
This was an average morning. I went to turn horses out. I didn’t let the one horse that sleeps in the paddock, that is located inside the back pasture , out before letting Lynx loose for the day. A simple thing. So I took the halter off Lynx, put it on my shoulder and stepped forward. I woke up 15’ from where I was standing. It hurt. I could not breathe. I did manage to get up and let that horse out before the ambulance arrived. I spent four days in the hospital and did not break anything. Blunt force trauma to my chest wall.
What I have learned since this experience? A lot! I learned that the world keeps turning. I learned that my child still had baseball. Dinner still needed to be cooked. Horses still needed to be fed. I also learned that my 42 year old body takes longer to heal! I learned that I have limits.
On my 14 year wedding anniversary, September 29th, my son got sick. Of course we got tested and come to find out it was the vid. My son was sick for maybe 24-36 hours. He is 100% now! I tested positive but do not have any symptoms aside from my “I just got kicked in the chest by a horse” symptoms. All I want to do is ride! But yet….I got kicked in the chest by a horse. Sigh.
So what does one do when we are in quarantine and healing from trauma? I’m not 💯 great but I am also way past the sleeping all day phase! I cleaned saddles. I cook dinner. I do laundry. Gah the laundry! What do we do? Watch tv. That’s it! So please go ride your horses and breathe in the ragweed air! Enjoy the little cool front that might make your steed a little fresh! Think of me while you glide along on that horse of yours! I can’t wait to ride again! But…I will! Why? Because “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” does not apply to people over 40! 😐✌🏻
When you live you life, accidents happen. I mean, we can’t live in a bubble! The best case scenario is to be prepared and have a plan. What would you do if you were home alone and feeding horses then came across a snake? For me, my snake charming tools are always handy! If I was bit by a snake, I would grab the nearest thing I can find and make a tourniquet to tie off my body part that was bit and call someone while identifying said snake. Got my drift? Moving forward…
Do you carry you phone on your person when you go out to the barn? When you ride, do you put your phone on your person or on your saddle? What if you are unconscious and cannot make a call? I don’t think that people always think thinks through. I know I didn’t. Heck, 90% of the time, I am alone when handling my horses. Sure, I almost always have my phone. A couple of years ago, I realized that if I was knocked unconscious, being alone, no one would know. So I invested in my Apple Watch with fall assist. It’s also cellular, not just Bluetooth. It was an investment in safety. And it worked.
I tend to always wear my watch. It has gone off with the fall assist when I smack a horse for biting me… good to know! It has two alerts that will ask “are you ok?” Then a “did you fall?”. You have to answer both on the watch or it will send out an alert to my people and call 911. Let’s think about this… if you fell off your horse and say, hit a rock with your head, DO YOU WANT someone to know? For me, the answer is simply YES. I do believe Samsung and other brands of smart watches now offer the fall assist feature.
My watch finally paid for itself this last Wednesday. I was doing my normal AM turn out with my horses but forgot to turn out the horse in one paddock before releasing Lynx from his paddock into the pasture. Normally, I open the paddock gate for the other horse to let him out then release Lynx. I normally release Lynx from the main gate. He normally walks beside me with a rope around his neck or halter and will wait for me to remove said rope/halter then go off to graze. On this random day, instead of releasing him at the gate, I walked into the pasture, removed his halter and stepped forward vs turning around and going back out of the pasture. He did wait until I was out of sight but I was actually right behind him. 😑 My brain was on walking to the other gate and turning out the other gelding. I literally walked directly behind Lynx. 🤦🏼♀️
This all happened so quickly that there is no way I could have prevented the following events. He took off to graze giving a quick yeeyee buck landing a direct hit to my chest. I remember the hoof making contact. Then I came too about 10-15′ from where I was initially standing and was laid out. I could not breathe. Of course I was in my bedtime clothes but my phone was under my left hip that was on the ground. My watch had time to go through the questions and started the emergency process. My 🆘. Thank God. While I was face down in the dirt, gasping for air, three people called me asking if I was ok. I could not respond as I had zero air in my lungs. I was spewing snot too. (Had bronchitis and the snot evidently got kicked out of me) and all I could say was HELP. I was scared, alone, and in horrible pain. My three people jumped into action. Sadly, while I was trying to answer their calls, I hung up on 911 😩. Luckily my friend Tori had called them. My watch sent out a GPS of my location. Again, my phone was under me. I managed to get a little air back and get to my knees then my feet but could not stand upright. My brain was still on letting the other horse out so I did. Then I went out the main gate and crawled to the living quarters of my horse trailer as it has a soft place to sit.
My friends showed up. They found me! Yay!!! Helped me inside and I knew I was bad off. I heard the sirens. I managed to get my friend to pack my purse with essential items like chargers, iPad etc. We did forget to dress me but it’s ok. Ambulance picked me up and took me to the trauma center in Dallas. The force of the kick had caused my heart to go out of rhythm and swelling in my chest cavity. I still don’t know how I didn’t break ANYTHING. My husband showed up and they did the full work up. I stayed for 3 nights and four days.
Now that I am home, I realize how lucky I was to only get kicked in the chest by one hoof vs two. I do have whiplash and a concussion. I have some insane bruising. I am not ok but I am not broken. Thinking back, I’m so glad I made the investment for my safety!! If my watch wasn’t on me, no one would have known. Im guessing it would have been about an hour before I was able to make calls. Think about that. How quickly does it take for a human to bleed out? What if my heart was in so much distress that I had an actual heart attack? What if I had punctured a lung? I am so blessed to have gotten care so quickly!!!!
I hope that this will make everyone stop and think. What safety procedures do you have in place? How often are you alone with your horses? Do you realize that this was a split second fiasco? Are you ready for something like this to happen? What is your plan?
I’m going back to sleep now but I sure hope my post helps someone!
As a horse person, we tend to overlook our own injuries and keep going. Sadly, I have done this so many times! This summer has been very hard on me! Ironically, I’m dealing with old injuries that have caught up with me vs new stuff.
What is the issue? Well, we are a stubborn group of people. We love our animals. We prioritize them over ourselves. I was told by my husband to enjoy my runs (barrel racing) because I don’t do it for the payout. If I did it for the payout, we would be living under a bridge with a horse and a dog. True story! My body and brain simply refuses to not take care of my horses. One week after having total hip repair (not replaced) I was out feeding and blanketing my horses because we had a sudden cold snap. Y’all, I was on crutches and a very strict “do nothing” order. But I didn’t want them to be cold and they needed hay! My horse (Gabe) decided to kick at me and took out my right knee while I was on crutches that day. Yup! This was back in 2014. I had zero regrets. Stupid. I know.
Moving forward… my knees have taken a lot of abuse. I’m a barrel racer but mostly it’s been random stuff. My hip stability depends on my knee. My back depends on my legs. This summer I began having hip pain and knee pain. Then I dropped a metal water trough on my foot. All on the right side. Sigh. Instead of resting, I kept going. Bad move. What could have been 4 weeks of down time has now turned into a series of MRI’s, possible surgery and physical therapy. With all this going on, I developed bone spurs in my shoulder that are attacking my rotator cuff. ALL ON MY RIGHT SIDE. Sigh.
Now let’s talk about how and why. How did I go downhill? I kept going vs resting. Why? Because my brain said go when my body said stop. I love my students, my horses, and my life! Being grounded by doctors and my physical therapist has really sunk my ship so to speak.
What is next? It’s time to take care of my body. I’m still going out to feed my horses. Taking care to not carry things beyond what I can carry. I cannot throw a saddle on a horse. I cannot walk or jog while giving lessons. Even putting a bridle on a horse is painful. So I shall stop. For now. I have an MRI for my shoulder coming up this week. This will be MRI #7 this year. Yes you read that right. Did I mention that I had two ER visits this spring? Not accident related? Yup. Did I slow down? Nope! See the pattern?
As much as I love what I do, it’s time to slow down. Actually I’m past the opportunity to just slow down. Now I have to stop. It’s sad. I don’t like it. But I have to take care of myself! I will get things fixed, do my Pt and come back stronger! I will be mindful of my limits! I will give my horses kisses and their feed but leave the rest to my hubby. I WILL HEAL. God has a plan! I got this!