One bad decision can change your life. For me that day could have been October 7th, during the last day of a 3 day clinic I was participating in. I’ve owned my Clydesdale, Blue, for 12 years and I do not consider him a “hot” or dangerous horse in anyway. I’ve put babies and even puppies up on his back and he is always a good boy. I guess it is because of that, and because we never got out of a walk during the clinic, that I decided to not wear my helmet that day. I say “I guess” because I don’t remember much of anything from that day.
The photo of me riding that I included is the only proof I have of me riding that day, because after my accident I just don’t remember. I am told that we were all lined up in the arena waiting for our turn to complete the exercise the instructor was having us work on when Blue went from snoozing with his head down and lip twitching to bucking bronco in a split second. No one has any idea what set him off, but off he went bucking like a rodeo horse, and off I came landing first on my seat, and then falling back and hitting my head.
After I left for the hospital the instructor rode Blue, trying to figure out what had happened and even trying to get him to buck again, and Blue was fine. Despite his years of experience as a trainer even he can’t provide an answer as to what happened.
At the hospital a CAT scan revealed no serious injury, but I did have a significant concussion. My husband told me I kept asking him if he shot Blue. Even though I was awake and never unconscious, I have no memory of what occurred for most of the day. I started to “come to” and start tracking and remembering events later that afternoon when I “woke up” at my barn managers house.
I am extremely lucky that I did not suffer more serious injury, and have certainly learned my lesson. To have my memory taken from me, even if it is just a few hours’ worth of time is very scary. I think of how much more I could have lost. What if I didn’t remember who I was at all? What if I suffered a more serious brain injury? Not only would I have hurt myself, but the ones I love. The outpouring of support I received after the accident really drove home to me just how many people I have in my life that would have been affected. I quietly accepted the “I’m going to smack you for not wearing your helmet” comments because I knew they were right. If my head didn’t hurt so much I would have smacked me too. The other picture I have included is of my hospital bracelet from that day, which I am attaching to my saddle as a reminder to myself the next time I think its ok to skip the helmet.
No matter how good you think your horse is, or how quiet you think your ride will be, you just NEVER know what will happen. Please, wear your helmet- every time, every ride.
- Lee Scozzare