Real Rider Stories: Bianca Pavel



Hi, I’m 32 and I’ve been riding for the last 11 years without wearing a helmet. Anything sound with 4 legs was fine, no matter how crazy, no matter how green or avoided by anyone else. I wanted to do dressage and of course i could never afford to buy or rent a proper school master, so i got to ride a lot of horses i wasn’t ready for. However, I was lucky enough to learn a lot and became able to handle difficult horses , Without any major events (just some lower back problems). Almost 2 weeks ago i started riding a new very sweet horse and i say sweet because he didn’t even try to rodeo me out when i got on his back after him not being ridden for 8 months. Should i mention he’s 4 years old and was only ridden a couple of times in 2012. So, yes, in my vision this horse is a sweetheart.

Three days went on perfectly and the fourth was about to start, when i decided to trust the horse on allowing me to mount from the mounting block without anyone standing in front of him. The way he did it the day before. It must have been one of the dumbest calls I’ve ever made, the horse took off when i had my foot in the stirrup and i did manage to get in the saddle, but i wasn’t able to actually sit in it. He didn’t do too much, my lack of balance combined with his lack of experience and training were enough to make him speed off and there was no way i could regain my seat. So he got me flying off and landing on my head some 30 meters after the mounting attempt. In terms of pain, it was a very easy fall, no discomfort anywhere. But, i don’t have any recollection of the 1 or 2 hours that followed this fall. Afterward i got back on, ridden the horse as usual, without any issues and other riders told me that he went nicely. I don’t remember any of it! When we were done, i had a whip in my hand, i have no idea when or why i asked for it, or who gave it to me.

After a couple of hours of people telling me stuff i did and could not remember, i decided to go to the hospital for a consult, even though i was feeling fine. The brain surgeon saw me and said amnesia is not normal, but i was lucky enough and did not show any signs of major contusion.

So i should be able to relax now. But i can’t, at the slightest sign of headache i still panic, i am still afraid to drive the same as before, since i don’t know for sure if my reflexes are intact. The point is a fall doesn’t necessarily have to be too dramatic, making one stupid decision or the horse taking one misstep is enough to seriously damage you.

The nice light helmet i had (collecting dust in a closet for a year) was finally on my head today, where it should have been from day one. Too bad i needed a major blow to realize that …

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