Friday, November 09, 2012

Brave and strong

My friend Devon rides racehorses. Not off-the track, retired racehorses--on the track, fit, healthy, strong and FAST racehorses. She is very strong, though tiny, and braver than I am by a long shot. She will be drawing on all of that to heal from a very scary accident, but those of us who know and love her have great faith in her to do just that.

Devon and her Milazzo
There is inherent risk in this profession but Devon is a good rider and takes her safety very seriously so had managed to stay healthy and sound herself for quite awhile. Unfortunately, this job has a "when not if" component to it and her when happened Sunday morning--the day after she got back from our Breeders' Cup adventures.

Aside from starting an hour earlier than she intended (her phone didn't automatically sync to the time change), the day began fairly normally. She was working a horse for another trainer and had been ponied out to the pole. She felt the saddle slip as the outrider let her go, "Uh Oh." She tried to correct but got bumped again and the saddle slipped further.

At this point, traveling astride a galloping racehorse, she felt she only had one option--bail. It was either that or risk sliding under said galloping racehorse, so bail she did and hit the track. Hard. She must have rolled and bounced some because her helmet ended up in the ditch and her injuries are on both sides.

She couldn't move after she hit and lay still on the track. Luckily, the same pony rider was able to stop the other horses working behind her so she wasn't in more danger. It was probably good she couldn't move, if terrifying, as it prevented any additional damage to her neck and spine. It is also a silver lining that it happened on the track since they are well-equipped to handle and stabilize just this type of situation.

It sounds odd to say, but even with a fractured neck and chip off her pelvis, Devon considers herself very lucky. She has feeling and mobility in all her limbs--though her right hand and arm are not 100% yet--and is starting physical therapy and rehabilitation today. She had no head injury, despite losing her helmet, and because she was fit to begin with has a good basis to build on.

It won't be easy--she is having problems standing and balancing, let alone walking--but she is determined and strong. She also has a positive attitude and a lot of love headed her direction, all of which will help the healing process.

Devon on the backside at Santa Anita during Breeders' Cup the day before her accident
Her birthday is Sunday and her horse is running. She will have to miss it, but she is here to watch the replays and have birthday cake. Her friends are all very glad that's the case. So is her pony, even if he doesn't know it yet.

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