Truthfully, I don’t really know where to start!! It’s been a bit of a whirlwind here the last few weeks, to say the least!
As most of you probably already know 3 weeks ago on the way home from a show at Rocking horse our truck and trailer were hit by a tractor-trailer. It started out as routine run home after a day at a show until I came upon a car about 300 feet in front of me that was rear-ended by another car sending it into the side of the on-coming tractor-trailer. The tractor-trailer was pulling a pup (meaning it had 2 trailers connected). The car that hit it broke one of the trailers axels, causing the second trailer to fishtail back and forth across both lanes. At this point I had already slammed on the brakes! AND, then as the semi continued to approach me fishtailing, the second trailer (the pup) flipped over and came sliding across the road at me!!! It was like something out of a scary movie! Pulling such a long trailer, I had no option of swerving and at the last minute turned slightly right towards the ditch. Then we (Myself, my dog Ty, and the 3 horses) were hit by the flipped over trailer which sent us about 15 feet into the ditch. The air bags went off and I jumped out of the truck and ran to the trailer. I was scared, not sure exactly what I would find. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to see all the horses standing up and unhurt! They were shaking a little and breathing hard, but I think we all were! Hank, who was in the back where most of the damage was done to the trailer, had 2 small cuts on his hip. But considering the extent of the accident I’d say all people, horses and dogs made out pretty good. Unfortunately some of the other people involved in this accident weren’t quite so lucky. One man was airlifted and 3 others were sent to hospital. The woman that had started this chain of events by rear-ending the original vehicle was charged for the accident.
Our adventure unfortunately was far from over! We were still about 1 hour from the farm and now had to figure out how to get us all back there. I called Lesley Grant-Law, who along with Sandra came to rescue the horses…this took about 2.5 hours as she was stopped with 2 other accidents along the way. Thankfully in the mean time Jenn Holling had been dropped off to stay with me and the horses, the paramedics checked me out and people kept stopping to make sure that the horses were okay. Once Lesley arrived we unloaded all the horses at once. They were all a little hesitant to get on another trailer, but they did. Once loaded, Indy (my 5 year old) got really upset so Jenn and Sandra had to ride the whole way home in the trailer with him just to make sure everyone travelled safely. Jen Duncan came to rescue Ty and I. She collected everything we would need for the next 2 days of competition out of the truck and trailer, waited for the 2 tow trucks required and made our way back to the farm. The horses were all settled by the time we got home. The horses all got a little banamine, the people had some wine and everyone went to bed, because despite all that had happened we still had to leave at 6am the next morning to go back to Rocking Horse!!!
So I know what you’re all thinking, this all seems pretty unlucky. But really I think that we were very lucky! Having turned a little before the trailer hit me caused it to smash in the rear door of the truck and not into mine, the horses were all okay and we stopped sliding about a foot from a fence and forest. This was because we were lucky that the side of the road was all sand, which kept pilling up on the tires as the truck was sliding and helped to stop us. We were lucky that the ditch was wide and most importantly FLAT! But most of all we are lucky that we were all able to walk away!!
We got ourselves back to the show the next morning with 5 horses thanks to the help of Jen and the Laws. Molly and Hank did a beautiful job x-c!! Jen completed the weekend on both of her horses and was excited beyond words to be out showing again!! Missy and Indy were both fab! Indy finishing on his dressage score again! Looks like it’s going to take more then an accident to hold this crew back!
Unfortunately we hit another bump in the road only 2 short days after the accident. Sunday Hank was lame. Monday we had an ultrasound done and it showed a torn suspensory. How is it that he can walk away uninjured after being hit by a semi and then injure himself doing what he loves?? Just doesn’t seem right! Needless to say it was very disappointing for us all. Much to her credit Molly has been dealing with it all very well, and I am very proud of her for that! Upon a second ultrasound and x-ray a week later, it turned out that he had also broken his splint bone. He had surgery just this past Tuesday to remove the broken splint bone and I’m happy to report that he is doing well.
The following Monday after the accident was the beginning of a 3 day training camp, followed by our departure to Red Hills. It was also the beginning of dealing with the insurance (fun!). Oh! And trying to find a way to get to all of these places sans truck! Monday Mark Nelson picked us up for training camp. Tuesday we were able to borrow the Law Eventing trailer. And Tuesday night Denise Rath called to offer me her truck to get to Red Hills!! Are people ever amazing or what? Lucky!
The training camp went well, and Rocco was able to attend this time too. He’s one of the big boys now! It was a busy couple of days but soon I found myself en route to Red Hills.
Red Hills hosts a great event and I’m always excited to attend. This time we had Rocco and Shaggy running in the CIC**. In a way, it felt like a relaxed weekend! My cousin drove down from Georgia to give some support and feed and mother me. Glad she was there!
Rocco put in a great test for where he is at right now and I was pleased with his performance. However, I was a bit disappointed in the performance that Shaggy and I gave. He was a little on-edge, which is uncharacteristic of him. Looking back I think a morning ride that day probably would have helped curtail that. The x-c course was great. There were some galloping lanes that opened up the course and gave it a good flow. They get a lot of spectators at Red Hills and so there is a lot of atmosphere for the younger horses. Both flowed around the x-c and I was very happy with how they handled all the questions and the people! Sandra and I were both very happy to see that both horses looked great Saturday night and passed the jog nicely. They both show jumped clean finishing in 8th and 9th place. Very proud of both of them!
Tomorrow we start a 2 day training camp and then we are off to Poplar Place (March 25th, 26th, 27th) with Manny, Mater and Shags running in the advanced, Rocco in the CIC** and Jen Duncan riding Ray in the training and Zing in the novice. This time we are borrowing the Holling’s truck to get there! My truck has been officially written off, so when the insurance companies are done arguing over a price Aaron will be driving down another one. I can’t wait to have my independence back! Although so many people have been so generous, it’s always hard accepting and borrowing.
So, was the accident an unlucky turn of events? Sure! I absolutely could have done without the added stress, but in the end I think I am very lucky. Through all of this I’ve learned how nice it is to be in a sport with so many wonderful people that are always offering a helping hand when one is needed. I’ve always known that our barn in Florida and at home is full of truly great people, but this event has just further reinforced that. Through all of this fiasco there were no glum days, just positive thoughts and lots of support for each other. And that right there is what makes a good team!!