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Surviving a 15-foot Fall in my Troxel Sierra

My husband, two friends, and I ride nearly every Sunday. It was a beautiful day in July 2010, when we rode down the Laguna Mountain area to eat lunch at Granite Springs, in Cuyamaca State Park. This ride would be about a 16-mile loop, in the mountains and meadows of San Diego County. After a nice rest under a giant oak tree, we rode back Deer Park trail, and then back up the Indian Creek trail towards Sunrise Highway, where we had parked our trailer at Pioneer Mail County Park. We had never been on the Indian Creek trail before, so we were excited about this particular adventure. We came across some bicyclists resting off the side of the trail at a cliff area. The area was steep, and we barely had enough room on the trail to pass the cyclists. We had no fears, as our horses were seasoned trail companions, and stayed focused on the trail. We exchanged hellos with cyclists and proceeded on.
My husband was first in line with his Arab, Duncan. They headed up and into the bush-lined trail away from the cliff; at that point it got ugly. Duncan was on a steep shale-like rock slab, and his back end fell. He couldn’t get any footing with his back hoofs. I was behind Duncan on my Tennessee Walker, Fancy. As Duncan fell back towards Fancy, she backed up and her back hoofs went off the cliff. I turned my head around to see if she had any back footing, and she had none. She was about to roll left off the cliff, and Duncan was about to roll into her right side. Then came my dream of flying through the air next to my husband and Duncan.
I fell 15 feet off the cliff! I landed on my back and slammed my head on to the ground. I actually bounced, and slumped over. I was knocked out, and the wind was knocked out of me. My husband thought I was dead! I woke up a couple of minutes later to a good deal of pain. My horse had not fallen off the cliff. Fancy had miraculously hoisted herself, launching me, and ran up the side of the mountain like a goat. My husband had jumped off Duncan, and both of them went sliding down the steep incline on their feet, knocking into large rocks along the way. Fancy and Duncan ran away, down the mountain, to be later caught by our friends.
I was rescued by the San Diego Fire Department’s rescue helicopter, and flown to the trauma center. I was bruised, but was mostly okay with a single fractured arm. The Troxel helmet saved me from breaking my head! My friends and I always wear our Troxel helmets when we ride our horses, and thank God we do! We love the Troxel Sierra because of its lightweight, cool-venting design.

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