Friday afternoon was time for an unscheduled weekend off… and I mean OFF.
I was riding at walk on the bit on a new galloway I bought, when something frightened him in the wind from behind, causing him to jump forward and right. I went with him — albeit a little side-saddle — and we both hit the deck with the full brunt to my left shoulder and side.
So off I went yelling for help, laying in a crumpled heap fully knowing I had broken myself badly as there was an off noise when my bones hit the floor. My galloway seconded that and left the scene unscathed but for sure as shocked as I was. Bless him! I can only imagine his thoughts as we were both in a great on-the-bit position — but unfortunately not upright.
Diamond B Farm owner (and my friend for over 40 years) Helen Chugg, Amanda Madigan and Bree Furze raced over, as I was seriously going off… but my loudest voice ever soon turned to a pathetic pant. Helen called the ambos with great gusto and went off to get blankets, as I was so cold and struggling to breath. On her return I was not much better in the breathing department, but had managed to turn into a sweating mess… something that resembled a poor horse suffering an adverse reaction to prostaglandin! The difference was that I was white as a ghost and very still.
By this time I was propped up against Bree’s legs sitting on the arena, swaddled in Helen’s best mohair blanket with Amanda’s comforting words, “You’re okay. You must be special — no one gets to be wrapped up in that mohair blanket!” I was thinking to myself ‘I love her optimism here!’
I recall a lot of heads looking towards the open gate at Diamond B Farm, near Freemans Reach north-west of Sydney. I knew they were thinking, “Hurry the f— up!” I was cast where I was, and could not see the gate, but I could read their minds as I wondered how long my tiny breaths could keep me going. I know they could read mine, despite not a peep from me, just tiny, pathetic sniffles and the odd muffled swear word. I knew my shoulder girdle was not stable, as my arm wouldn’t work, and that my ribs were busted because my chest couldn’t get much air in or out.
The ambo arrived to the quiet, crumpled, dripping old man being shrouded in mauve mohair and three great friends, who explained succinctly and calmly what had happened. The paramedics were absolutely amazing. Seriously incredible. I remember one asking where it hurt and I said my shoulder and collarbone. I thought, ‘Wait till he looks’. I was right. He pulled the neck of the T-shirt away and immediately proclaimed, “Well that’s fractured!” Off my clothes were cut and in went intravenous lines.
I never saw a green whistle, I only heard words like “draw up more morphine” and “let’s get another line in the other arm”… and then “the chopper will be here in a minute”. I heard Amanda’s words again, “You’re okay”. I was starting to really enjoy her optimism. After a few sentences of “get more morphine”, I started to see a lot more than green whistles. I reckon I saw a couple of angels!