Memorial Day 2010 my son and I were trail riding out from our farm in central Maryland. We were about a mile into the woods when my horse, for unknown reasons, went into a series of bucks.
This horse is good at getting all four feet off the ground and twisting. He is a short backed, short necked, stocky Paint Horse. I typically ride English, but on this day I was using a new Endurance type saddle with a large pommel. By the third or fouth buck, my butt was in front of the pommel and there was no getting myself back in the seat.
My horse didn't like me on his neck and once there I knew things were looking grim. My horse ducked his neck and then gravity took over. Just for good measure my horse abruptly tossed his head up which sent me flying up and over. I landed face first, followed by my chest, on the trail. I was dazed but struggled to get to my feet to no avail. I then lost consciousness and awoke several minutes later.
At first I thought I was home sleeping in my bed. This illusion was shattered when I felt something warm and wet dripping on my hand. I opened my eyes and could see that I was in the woods and I had a lot of warm blood dripping off my face and head. Unbeknownst to me my 13 y/o son had already dismounted and had taken my cellular phone from my pocket and called 911. An emergency brush truck ride out of the woods to an awaiting medivac flight was in my future.
I spent a few days in Baltimore's famed Shock Trauma Center with life threatening injuries - a back broken in three places and a severely lacerated liver. Thanks to my Brown Grizzly Troxel I only suffered a concussion and lacerations on my face. My face and mouth got stitched. My Troxel visor got pushed down onto the bridge of my nose, but we think it is what prevented my nose from being broken. The surgeons at the trauma center said the helmet clearly spared me from serious head trauma and may have prevented my death. I am still 'down' and recovering from the back and liver injuries, but I am not 'done'! After 40+ years of riding horses I am counting the days before I can saddle up. I will buy a new Troxel before my next ride.