It was December 4th, 2010. I was cantering my newly saddle broke 7 year old TB/AppyX Lilly down a jump trail where she was boarded in Eastern NC. We were in a group of 8, I was #7 and my friend Emily was right behind me bringing up the rear. We went over a double log set and camp up on a limb raised to 2 feet when Lilly kicked out at the horse behind us.
Everything happened so fast that it took me six months of talking to the other riders to piece it all together! As we jumped, I was taking my seat when she kicked out, making me lose my balance and stirrups at the same time, as the saddle hit my tail bone, it knocked me unconscious!
My horse continued down the jump trail carrying me! I remember galloping down a sandy beach on my horse Chorus Girl (Chorus Girl was back at the barn, cancer stricken with Guttoral Mycotis x 6 months and would die just 6 days later...) and the sun was warm and all my friends were there, the air was sweet and the water was cold and then suddenly the sun was gone and Chorus was gone, my friends were now no longer riding with me, they were standing in the receding water yelling my name and i felt cold and dizzy, and suddenly I heard my horse Lilly but I could not see her and then I opened my eyes!.... I had been unconscious for 4.5 minutes.
My surgeon said I had probably been dead at some point, but the shock of it all and God not being ready for me and me being a fighter.. and the fact that I was wearing a DAMN GOOD HELMET!!!, I lived. When Lilly reached the rest of the group and my trainer, she went into the tree line a bit and turned sideways (smartest horse EVER) and I flew off of her. Since I was unconscious, I had no way of protecting myself, my head hit a tree, cracking my helmet in half and then I bounced backwards and landed on my back and head as a second landing.
Six days later Chorus girl passed away, 4 weeks later, against doctors orders, I donned my brand new Troxel helmet and got on Lilly! I think she KNEW.. because she was so very patient with me, we just walked and talked and then I handed her off to my trainer for student use. Now, three years later, there is not ANYTHING I cant do! It took me a LONG time to build up my confidence again, I am almost 40 now, with small kids and I cant leave them w/out a mom!
So safety first, I will always have my helmet on! IF they decide they want to ride, we will go get them a helmet too! But now I am training an OTTB for eventing and boy am I thankful for my helmet! Still a Troxel, after living through that and seeing my helmet cracked in half and knowing that could have been my head, I will NEVER EVER trust another with my brain! As it is, I will be on meds for the rest of my life to ward off migraines that I never had before that day..
so THANK YOU Troxel for such wonderful technology that kept me in my kids lives!.. and my horses!