I left work early a few weeks ago in mid September because it was 70 and sunny and I knew I wouldn't have many more days like this one to ride.
I chose my gelding because he needs the work and exercise more than my mare. I did the ground work I usually do and we were off. The first walk around our field was uneventful but then the breeze kicked up and so did he. A walk became a trot and then an uneven canter turned to a buck. My first thought after I was unsuccessful at stopping him was that I needed to get off...which happened so quickly the next thing I remember was hitting the ground.
I don't remember leaving the saddle but falling and landing happened in slow motion. My head hit first and in that flash of an instant I thought, "thank God I have my helmet on", followed by jaw, left shoulder, elbow, hip, thigh, calf and foot and then the right leg followed. I immediately lifted my head to see where he was and wondered "could I lift my head if my neck were broken?"...it seems silly now but that's exactly what I thought as I lay on the ground in foot high alfalfa. I saw my gelding bucking his way across the pasture to where my husband was thankfully grazing my mare. He called to me to see if I was hurt. I couldn't turn over and he called 911.
The end of the story is really a blessing. I suffered 2 hairline fractures to my pelvis but it could have been much worse. I remember someone removing my helmet before they flipped me over in the field and didn't think much about it until I heard the EMT's report out to the ER doc. They said that they had examined my Troxel helmet, it was totally intact, and that I didn't lose consciousness or appear to have any head injuries. I haven't always worn a helmet in my many years of riding but after hearing this, I closed my eyes and swore to myself that I would never ride without a helmet again.
When I was released from the hospital, I saw my helmet laying in the back of the SUV and after the initial twinge of recent memory passed, I knew that I would ride again...with that very helmet.