To the Horse that Almost Paralyzed Me…

It’s hard to imagine that it’s been 7 years since my life changed. What started out as a normal day working at the barn, turned into an overnight stay in the ER with a life altering injury. Let me tell you a quick story about that day and what I’ve learned about myself and about passion.

Have you ever gotten a feeling in the pit of your stomach when you know something bad is going to happen? I had that feeling the morning of January 21st, 2011. It was a bitter cold day with whipping winds, but I had horses to take care of! Being as cold as it was, we were short-staffed, so I started bringing in horses in pairs. This particular pair of horses were new to the farm and weren’t quite adjusted to the new surroundings, not to mention they were on edge due to the winds. We reached the crest of the hill and hit the pavement when a huge wind tunnel threw sticks and leaves in our faces. Both horses spooked and tried to run. I managed to wrangle them for a moment until another gust of wind caused one horse to leap off all fours, kick out with her haunches and made contact with my back. I must have flown several feet from that kick because I was nowhere near where I was standing plus my phone laid shattered all over the pavement. Luckily another farm hand turned the corner and saw me laying on the ground and came to my aid, but the only thing I kept yelling was, “Get the horses inside!”. Every bit of me wanted to jump up and chase those horses down, but somewhere inside of me knew I shouldn’t get up.

I laid on that cold pavement for what seemed like hours waiting on the ambulance.

I couldn’t feel any pain, but I also couldn’t feel my legs.

After x-rays upon x-rays, the verdict was delivered. The kick caused my spine to fracture. Luckily there was no nerve damage, but the doctors were cautious and kept me immobilized. Fast forward through months of heavy medication, a year of wearing a custom back cast and intense physical therapy, I thought I was ready to get back on a horse. My doctors pleaded with me to not go near another horse, because if I were to re-injure myself, the result would most likely be paralysis from the waist down.

That first ride was painful. My right leg still wasn’t quite working like it should, but I was in heaven. I had been away from horses for so long and it was not only physical torture, but mentally as well. Over the last 7 years, I’ve learned that when you love something enough, you’ll do anything to keep that in your life. So, to that horse that almost paralyzed me, I want to thank her for making me the person that I am today. I have learned to not take simple things for granted and I appreciate every single ride I have with my horse, whether it’s a good ride or not. I still feel pain, but at the end of the day, I’d rather have that pain than to not have horses in my life.

Basically, it all boils down to passion; and let me tell you, horse people definitely are passionate. They are mucking stalls before the sun comes up and doing night checks well after the sun goes down. Through rain, sleet, hail, and snow, horse people are doing manual labor 365 days a year; I guess we have the mail carriers beat! Despite broken bones, broken down trucks, hay in our shirts and mud covered everything, we keep coming back because we’d rather spend our free time with them then sit inside watching Netflix. So next time you go to ride your horse, I hope you can take a moment to appreciate how lucky we are to have horses in our lives. Happy trails!

Written By: Brittany Stover, Equine Marketing Associate at Weaver Leather




  1. Thanks for sharing. Glad you were able to get back on. I always feel sorry for people I meet who have nothing to be passionate about. That must have taken a lot of courage.

    1. Thank you Cindi! I just hope by sharing my story it will help encourage other people to overcome their fears and pursue the passions in their life! We hope you enjoy reading our blogs!

  2. Here is my story. On 9/20/2000 I was working at the parking garage in Seattle. As an Ironworker we do a lot of heavy lifting of rebar. Well, about 9 am I had a lightning bolt of pain hit me as I was packing rebar. To make a 3 year, injury, story short, of doctor appointments, sent back to work after 18 months to only make matters worse, then to surgery, finally. All the while I was having friends to help me with horses and such. Had broodmares, stallion and a great gelding, that I barrel raced, reined, trail rode and loved. I went from riding 5 days a week to nothing for three years. Then surgery…another 4 years of not riding. Selling off everything to get through. But the Lord knew I needed to ride. Then marriage to a rancher. So a wonderful 2 year old gelding came into my life and I slowly rode (painfully) to build up length of time in saddle too riding for hours. This horse walked at a pace the seemed to massage my spine when I rode, BUT at a lope with a quick turn or side movement it HURT terribly. So I have restrictions and a lazy left leg…but Thank the Lord I can ride. Years later I bought a horse for the ranch and after 2 weeks of gathering cattle for branding and riding hours the day before, on my second calf drug to the branding crew, he reared up and the next thing I remember was landing on my right side with my elbow under my ribs and hearing in my ears, 3 cracks. X-rays to confirm fractures. So no riding for weeks again. And pain for months after. So back to my other gelding and slow work again. But back riding again. Thank you Lord. Horses are my passion and always will be even at my age, 60’s.

    1. Thank you so much Denise for telling us your story! You are truly an inspiration!!! It is amazing how many people such as yourself have suffered such significant injuries and still continue to ride. Horse people are truly passionate and we are so glad we got to know you a little better! We hope you like reading our blogs!

  3. I have been fortunate to not have had a serious injury. My last one happened when I was 16. My horse spooked, my right foot got hung up and I was drug. The one I’m speaking about now, has caused me to lose my confidence, even though I have 2 awesome horse’s (1 that I have retired, she’s 34 this yr), that have and continue to help me build my confidence up. I had a very close call. I guy we knew gave me a young horse that had been rescued, all I had to do was board him there for 1 yr. We went out on some trails for a ride. My husband never rides behind me when we ride, that day, he did. My gelding kept crowhopping on me, I started making him move his feet differently to get his crowhopping off his mind. We got to the top of a small hill, he had stopped crowhopping before we got there, there were some huge rocks that we’re heavy and couldn’t be moved at the top of this small hill. The next thing I know, I’m opening my eyes, with my head on his poll, looking straight down his nose at all these huge rocks, and I was laying completely on his neck. If he would have taken half a step forward before I came down outta the air, I would have landed right on the horn of my saddle in a place that could have really hurt me. If he would have taken half a step backwards, I would have landed on those rocks and hit my head and body on them. Took him to the round pen and put him thru his paces, he was fine. Went back on the trail, he did great, until we got to the 2nd Creek crossing. Everyone was in the creek on their horse’s and letting them get a drink. I figured my gelding was done with his shannigans and gave him plenty of rein to get a drink. Wrong move! He bolted!! I immediately take my feet outta stirrups when a horse gets silly to prevent getting hung up and drug again. He tried everything to get me off of him! Trees, everything. It didn’t work. Needless to say, I never got back on him again, and will never step foot on that property. This gelding isn’t the first unsafe horse he’s sold or given me. Since then I tend to get nervous and anxious when I go to ride. My TWH mare is helping me alot with building my confidence up again. My other mare helped me tremendously, but she is retired now. I’m hoping I gain more confidence and go back to riding like I did before any incidents incur again. To think I would jump on any horse, broke or not, without a thought, and I ran barrels and poles before this. Sorry for the long comment. 😊

    1. Wow, Kristal that was a story and I know many can relate. Glad you stopped riding that horse. And you have a trusty steed to continue your riding. It is so funny how we were such competitors and just one horse could change our confidence. But deep down we do realize they are animals. The good Lord was watching over us! Keep riding and enjoy!

      1. Thank you Kristal! We hope you enjoy reading our blog posts! 🙂

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