Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Freak injuries are not so freakish

Photo from
"The safest place to be is on their back," someone once said to me. At the time I was working with my year-old Riley in hand and felt like a big weenie. As I practiced trotting the triangle,  I was afraid Ri might knock me down. He did knock me down once, and there were some near misses. And of course, there is my "finger incident" -- I now believe it is broken, and will be going to urgent care on Friday.

 I'm writing about this because Eventing Nation just reported that Holly Payne was badly injured in a freak horse accident -- one that did not involve riding and did not result from carelessness. Essentially, a young horse she was leading spooked and ended up injuring her foot badly (the word "shattered" is used, nuf said). I am thinking good thoughts for this young, talented woman.

Reduce your risk!
Accidents like this should serve as a wake-up call for all of us. Like everyone, I occasionally take chances -- but now, in my fifties, I'm smarter and better at avoiding stupid risks. This post is a reminder to be careful as you work around your horse. Don't sit in the grass while your horse hand-grazes next to you, don't walk him in a cooler outside in high winds, don't let yourself get tangled in a lunge line. Wear a helmet. For once, imagine the worst case scenario and don't deny that it could happen to you.

No one is immune to harm. We are not immortal. Act accordingly.

Love you all.


  1. Poor Holly! I have not heard of her, actually, but I take it she is related to Doug Payne? Ironic that it's the navicular bone in her foot. I'm sure if you asked her, she'd say she'd much rather have hers broken than her horse's.

    I'm glad you're going to the doctor about your finger but I have to rib you a little - scheduling your "urgent care" visit three days hence is kind of funny. :-)

    And yes, please be careful, everyone - always remember they are ANIMALS and nothing is ever truly safe to do!

  2. Your post about freakish accidents is right on. I am in my 60's and have had one myself and just recently a bad one happened to a woman I know who has a therapy riding program for children with disabilities. She is a very experienced horse woman but had a horse she was leading spook and plow into her breaking her jaw and other damage, We really must be alert and careful all of the time even around the best of horses. We horse owners do something that is highly dangerous but we love it so that we don't always think about what can happen. If we did we might not do it anymore.
    Thank you

  3. Good post with good points. I always try to ascribe to the "Save yourself!" motto when dealing with horses that start to get out of control on the ground. Doesn't always work, but it surely makes you learn how to leap out of the way as fast as you can.....

    Hope your finger gets better quickly. It must hurt a lot for you to go to a doctor. Do take care and heal well.

  4. I've always practiced caution around horses, but sometimes nature wins anyway. I broke my hand (2 surgeries to fix it) when a 2-yr-old filly spooked as we were exiting a paddock through a gate. There was a lot of mud, so I could not move quickly enough out of her way as she bolted. When she raised her head suddenly to bolt, the stud chain grazed my hand sharply enough to shatter it. I'm now a little skittish around stud chains.

    And, just a few weeks ago, my usually-bombproof mare spooked as I led her through some woods. There was a tree blocking the far side of her, so when she whirled around she inadvertently knocked me into a pile of thorny brambles. She somehow avoided stepping on me, but I still had a few good shiners. I was pulling thorns out of my legs and behind for a week (not kidding).

    I'm beginning to wonder if we need full body armor just to be within a few yards of any equid. Ha!


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