Sunday, May 28, 2017
A Day in May
On a bright and sunny May Day, Linda and I headed for the trail. She was riding her Mustang Patch and I was on foot with our Border Collie, Sherry. We took a familiar trail that we actually had done a day or two earlier and one of her favorites. It was a beautiful clear day and not too cold. After some 4 miles or so, we headed down an extremely steep hill. Sherry and I were in front, followed by Linda and Patch. All of a sudden I heard Linda cry out, and quickly turned around. To my horror, I saw a bucking and rearing Patch with all fours off the ground and Linda leaning forward. Gravity took over as she hurled to the ground. She screamed in pain. I asked her to move all her extremities and she did. However, Linda had trouble breathing and couldn’t catch her breath. With her cell phone. I called 911. They said they knew our location and would arrive shortly. In the meantime, Patch took off with his reins hanging down. I attended to Linda and thought about retrieving Patch sometime later. After what seemed like a long time, I heard the familiar sound of a siren, going past, and our location. I did not want to leave her while she was in pain, but I traversed the hill going to the road. When I got to the top of that hill, I began yelling, attempting to signal the driver. At first I was whistling in the wind, but then I saw the truck heading toward me. It was one truck with two paramedics. Two other trucks with paramedics followed. Linda was evaluated and was in excruciating pain during the process. They determined that they could drive her to the trauma center at Sutter Health in Roseville. Lo and behold, I looked down the trail and saw a neighbor leading Patch behind. He said he was taking our equine to his barn and I could retrieve him when able. That was super as I didn’t have to retrieve Linda’s runaway horse. Six paramedics then carried Linda on a stretcher up that steep grade and then placed her in one of the trucks of the paramedics. Sherry and I rode home in another truck as Patch walked to the neighbor’s barn. Once home, I took care and fed Sherry and our Wired Hair Terrier and then left for the hospital. The next time I saw Linda. She was in a bed in the Trauma/Neuro ICU with her nurse standing by. Eventually, I received her diagnosis. She fractured five ribs, her clavicle, punctured her lung and had a fractured hip. Luckily, at this point, she didn’t require surgery. She had a tube to drain fluid from her lungs, was given medication along with physical and, occupational therapy. After eight painful hospital days, she was discharged. Linda, at this juncture, has decided to quit her trail activities. She’s heartbroken and struggling with that decision. It’s too difficult to predict the future, let alone the next day. Time will tell, as she has months of recovery time ahead. I quit competing in Ride and Tie events in 2009 as a result of my horse related injury. I know how difficult these decisions are, and hopefully Linda will stay firm with her thinking. PS Patch’s trail behavior performance was baffling as he had never bucked and reared before with Linda on his back.