From Endurance to Dressage
Wow. Yesterday's post about konking my noggin generated a fair amount of discussion. I am glad for that actually. Nearly two years ago, I wrote a blog post about having open discussions when a concussion has occurred. You can read it here.
I've been an avid helmet wearer since the mid-1990s. Before that, I didn't know they made helmets for equestrians. Since buying my first helmet, I've worn one religiously ever since. While a helmet has saved my butt more than once, I've stilled had a few concussions.
The first one happened in the mid-1980s. I was galloping bareback, something we did every day, when my mare took a hard turn. I tumbled over her shoulder and landed on my head. I blacked out, and when I came to, I was at a friend's house with amnesia. I knew who I was, but I had no idea of what year it was or how old I was. I was taken to the emergency room, and after a few days, most of my memory returned.
The next one, while not formerly diagnosed as a concussion, happened while I was picking out a mare's feet. I was bent over when she snapped a hind leg up to her belly to knock away a fly, whacking me in the process. I didn't hit the ground, but I definitely blacked out for a moment. While I had a sore spot on my head, I was otherwise okay.
The same mare, her name was Montoya, gave me yet another bang on the head when she kicked me in the face when I opened the trailer door. She let fly with both feet catching me in the face, chest, and arm. Not only did she whack my head, she cut my cornea and bruised the hell out of my arm. My ears rang for quite some time after that impact. I went to the emergency room for that one.
Speedy has given me two pretty good bumps on the head. The first time, he spooked, bolted, and launched me into a metal pole. My helmet was crushed in the back, my shoulder was separated, and I was pretty beat up. My husband hauled ass to the emergency room yet again.
The second time Speedy tossed me on my head was at a show. We had the first ride of the morning, and besides being quite fresh, he was young and stupid. I swung my leg over and he bolted before I could get my butt in the saddle. I hung on for a while as he bucked and bolted, but he eventually got me off. My head hit the ground hard enough to tear up my helmet, but I never blacked out. My butt took the worst of the impact.
I share all of these mishaps with you to let you know that I don't take getting bashed in the skull lightly. With that said, it's happened enough times that I feel pretty confident about when I need to see a doctor. From Saturday morning until Monday morning, my husband kept a very close eye on me. We spent Sunday driving to the beach for lunch, and then hung out by the pool on Sunday evening. I never had any of the symptoms that many concussed people feel. Other than being very tender to the touch, all systems were normal.
Concussions are a big deal and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) add up. I get it. I worry that the next time will be the last time. I wear a helmet every time I am in the saddle and when I am lunging. While it would be safer to wear a helmet the entire time I am at the barn, I don't want to live in a perpetual state of worry.
Accidents just happen.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: