Real Rider Stories: Tracey Ross

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The day that changed my life

On Sept 19 2010 I loaded up my TB mare into the float and headed to Gisborne for a sports day. It was a windy horrible day and my parents asked me to stay home as it was bad but I wanted to go. So off I went in the wind and rain. I got there 2 hours early before my classes and helped a friend get ready for her classes. Little did anyone know the show brought my classes forward so off I rushed to get my horse ready. I got a quick warm up in before being called to go but because I was in such a rush didn’t double check my gear like normal and didn’t tighten my girth. I got over the 3rd jump and that’s where it turned bad my saddle started to slip so the 4th jump was horrible and by the time I realised it was to late. Ala bolted and my saddle went underneath her I clung on till she threw in a buck.

I went flying in the air and came crashing down head first. I blacked out for a couple of seconds then remember rolling over and trying to get up but collapsing back down with my arm stretched out as if I was crawling and screaming. The ambulance was called and more importantly my family was called and I was rushed to hospital, once at hospital it was discovered I had compressed my T12 vertebrae causing it to break and there was also a bone chip floating around my spinal fluid so I was put into the spinal ward. It was the hardest 4 days of my life laying there steering at the ceiling wondering whether I would walk again or if I would be paralysed. I was then fitted in a full brace so that I couldn’t bend my top half of my body, this gave me some freedom to move again. I was then given a frame and attempted to walk it took a bit but soon I was walking with crutches. There were set backs like my first show I fainted while fully naked in the shower and waking up to the two cutest doctors available (I could have died), I then found out I had sustained minor brain injuries as well. I was allowed home a week after it happened and wasn’t allowed to ride for 6 months although was back riding 2 months later. I did end up giving my TB away and got my boy who I own now and that was the best move I ever thought to do. The one thing the accident taught me was I am not bullet proof and I will not ride without a helmet now I’m worth to much to lose in a fall but it also taught me that life is short and one day I may not walk so I appreciate every step I take and every jump I jump and most of all I make sure everyone I love knows just how much as you never know when your time has come. I’m so grateful that I can still walk and if it wasn’t for that helmet I would most likely not be here today. However this accident has made me more determined to live life and I am currently jumping my new boy up to 1.30 when before him I couldn’t jump 1m and I am a better rider because I think more now :)

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