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Head on Collision with a Pipe Post

No concussion, nothing is torn, broken, cracked, or sprained, but my confidence is definitely balanced on thin ice!

So here goes ... I was schooling Speedy G in the arena where he was being pretty good. Our goal was to complete several 20 meter circles that were nice and round with him also being nice and round. The day before he had been a real jerk, but we worked through it and finished with a happy, quiet horse.

He was doing the circles, but he was starting to fuss, when our regular garbage dumpster truck came puttering up the drive. Now, Speedy has worked with that truck in the background many times. He has been turned out with that truck working many times. He is very familiar with that garbage truck. Sometimes he ignores it and other times he throws his tail up and shows off a bit. Today, it just appeared at the wrong moment.

We were near the fence, with his butt towards the truck, when the operator started lifting the dumpster. Speedy was already getting in trouble when he heard the clatter. It took him a fraction of a second to explode into a bucking freight train. I tried to yank his head around in the one-rein stop that we have practiced many times, but I just wasn't strong enough. Speedy G picked up speed and started heading down the center line of the arena towards the gate. I did mange to pull him around slightly, but then we were headed toward the curve of the fence. Did I mention we have pipe poles and top rail with a thick, wire cable for the second rail?

I am not going to lie. I yelled, "$%^&!" and considered bailing, but we were going way too fast. He headed straight for the fence and I realized that he might go over it, or at least try to. I braced for it, but the next thing I remember is being sprawled in the dirt.

I could hear the truck driver yelling, but all I could do was "yell" for him to go to the house, but that was it. I must not have been yelling because within moments both Dario and Mary, our barn managers, and the truck driver were kneeling over me asking if I was okay.

You know how it is: at first you think you're broken in half. Then you reassess and realize nothing is broken and you're fine and you think "where is that "#@&*%^" horse so I can kill him?" And then you get to "uh-oh," I need to go to the ER! I got the "uh-oh" feeling when I saw my helmet, which I had taken off and was laying in the dirt. The back corner was crushed, corresponding to the spot where I couldn't move my neck.

My husband was called, Speedy G was returned to his stall, the unbelievably kind and apologetic truck driver was sent on his way (that's a whole other story), and I went to wait for Sean on Mary's couch.

The trip to Memorial Hospital was filled with deja vu as Sean had done this before (and that too is a whole different story). When you tell the Memorial ER staff that you came off a horse and cracked your helmet, they put you in the front of the line - FAST! Now that doesn't mean you get worked on fast, but you do get a bed, a nurse, and a doctor. So to shorten this up a little bit, and to eliminate the play by play, the doctor ordered two CT scans (brain and spinal cord), x-rays of every bone above my waist, and an MRI of my separated, but not broken, shoulder. Have any of you had an MRI? That totally sucked!

Before I could have any of this done, they had to control my pain so I could lie still for all of the procedures. They fixed that with an IV of morphine, which I don't recommend as it made me sick, which required an injection of something else! Craaaap! After that I wouldn't even let Sean fill the Percoset prescription - I'll stick to Motrin, thank you!

Anyway ... six hours later I walked out with a sling for my separated shoulder (no ligament tears), which actually doesn't even hurt, bruised ribs, but no cracks, a bunch of cuts and abrasions, an ugly goose egg on my head, and a black eye. Sean took photos of my injuries and we think I must have hit the pole, top rail, and cable of the fence. The curve on my face looks like a hoof print, but it doesn't hurt like a kick might. The crack in my helmet is definitely from the fence. The spot on my head, where the helmet gave way, is swollen and very tender. I hate to be melodramatic, but my head would have been cracked without the helmet.

Oh ... but the worst injury? My confidence is cracked. I wish it weren't. I would almost rather have a busted rib. I think the prescription for loss of confidence is lots of laughing with friends, lots of stories of the "I was hurt worse and got right back on," kind, and lots of friendly hugs. Just don't squeeze too hard as my ribs really do hurt!

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