This is a very sad story of someone who was told and convinced into the lie that wearing a helmet would keep her safe.
Lots of lessons here, I hope this story saves someone from this fate and thanks to Katie for allowing me to share this story.
NOTICE BELOW IS A COPY OF THE EMAIL:
Katie Muller [email protected]
May 4 at 11:11 AM.
I just watched your video on Stockholm syndrome and it hit home. I had grown up with horses, but I never took lessons, wore a helmet, or used a bit. I was young and fearless, doing everything "wrong" but I never got hurt. I spent every spare moment with my two quarter horses, just observing and building a relationship.
My mom sold our farm when I was 16.
So at the age of 27, I decide to get back into horses and do everything "right". I rode English, wore a helmet, took lessons twice a week, I bought an OTTB under the advice of my trainer. My horse was strong, big, and very fast. My trainer advised me to put her in training. Next thing I know, I'm spending $1000/month in training, lessons, board, etc. The horse wasn't slowing down, so my trainer buys a giant bit. My gut was telling me, this is wrong. This isn't how I treated my old horses, but she's a professional and I should listen to her.
I expressed many times that I was scared. I told my Trainer she was too big, too strong and too fast for me. I was reassured many times that she was "getting better" and it just took time. I was told that she "loved me" for taking her in after her track life (emotional thinking, not rational). I was that stupid human, that stupid girl in a helmet with a pink halter. So damn stupid.
Well, November 30th, 2014. The day before my birthday. It's freezing out. I met my friend at the barn for a trail ride. I knew it was too cold, we went anyways.
There is this part of the trail that is steep and twisty. When it's warm, we would run the horses up this trail. It's a good work out and a lot of fun. I told my friend that I couldn't stop my horse from running up this trail, and that it was cold and unsafe. My friend suggests that she goes up first and her horse would walk up ahead to keep my horse calm. Well, my horse always runs first up this trail. Again, my gut told me I know she likes to run up this hill, I know she likes to go first, it's too cold, it's dangerous, just turn around and go home the other way. I push my fear aside and listen to my friend. After all, she's been riding the "right" way for years. We start going up the trail, my horse loses her shit. She starts running. We pass my friend. We reach to the top of the trail and the next thing I know, my horse is at a full tilt gallop on concrete and my friend’s horse is rider less running beside me. My friend had freaked out and emergency dismounted when we passed her.
So my OTTB was racing a rider less horse.
At a full tilt gallop I fell off. I was wearing a helmet and I broke my neck. I was instantly paralyzed. I was 27, a mother of 2, a military wife. In that second, I lost my whole life.
I spent a year in the hospital. My kids were shuffled between my mom, their dad, and my siblings. It was the worst year of my life. I am very fortunate that I've had significant recovery, but I now use a wheelchair and it sucks.
Your message is a lifesaving message. Follow your instincts, rational thinking over emotional, don't go against your gut because a trainer wants to make a buck. I think that if I had found your videos earlier, I'd would be able to run and play with my 5 year old instead of watching him from the sidelines in my wheelchair.