It was Monday Feb. 13, 2012. I ride my horses to forget sometimes of the struggles that I am going through. For me riding is a way to escape, a time to relax. I have a Troxel helmet and I don't always wear one. I actually went out my front door without, it but something told me to go back in and get it, and so I did.
I then went to the barn and tacked up my horse, Cutter, which we have raised from a foal. I walked her back up to my arena and she was excited. So I decided to lunge her for about 15 minutes before I rode her. Now all I wanted to do that day was to walk around the barrel that I had set up in the middle of my arena. Just a relaxing ride is all I was wanting to do with her. I stopped her and put my left foot in the stirrup and swung my right foot over her back. I never had the chance to put my right foot in the stirrup. She bolted with me.
Now Cutter is my 6 year old APHA mare that I have had since the day she was born. She had never bolted before. I don't remember a whole lot but I know that I screamed and was trying my best to stop her. I pulled back on the reins, to no avail she wouldn't stop. I saw that we were headed for the fence but she turned at the last minute away from the fence. I was already on the side of her going down the hill. I remember my feet dragging the ground and then I pushed myself away from her so that I didn't get trampled. I remember flipping over like 3 or 4 times before I came to a full stop. The rest is in bits and pieces. My Husband had heard my scream and had looked out the window to see what was happening. Once he saw the riderless horse he quickly came to see if I was hurt. I know my husband went back to the house and called 911, came back and put a blanket over me. He caught and put up the horse for everyone's safety, then he helped guide the EMT's to where I was laying when they arrived.
I then was strapped down to a board and took to the airport to be sent on a life flight to Louisville trauma center. They thought that I had broken my femur in two places but after the X-rays and CT scan everything was better than expected, just some muscles torn away from the femur bone and a mild concussion. The life flight EMT's estimated from the shattered helmet that my impact was at 25+ mph. They said that if I wasn't wearing my helmet it would've been another outcome. The impact most likely would've killed me.
Even now five days later I am still having difficulties with dizziness and blurred vision. Yet I am very grateful to be alive to spend another day with my two young boys and husband. If not for the helmet I wouldn't have that chance. I am now a believer that a helmet can save your life, it did save mine. Now when I ride again, once I am able, I will be wearing my helmet. My boys will also be wearing one when they ride as well. I have seen from first hand experience the importance of wearing a helmet, quite literally it was the difference between living or dying. Just a look at the helmet will tell you what would have happened to my skull if I hadn't been wearing my helmet that day. Better the helmet than my skull. Dorothy Mann