I'm lucky enough to have not endured too many heart breaking events. Being in our sport, they are bound to happen. Today, my long time student, Sam Kelly, hit a big spike in the road blowing her upcoming plans to smithereens. We had plans to run the CIC2* at Chatt Hills next weekend in order to qualify for the 2* at Young Riders this year. Right now, we are praying to have a horse live happily in the field with a small chance of coming back to work. Who knows, she may come back 100%, but at this point we are just hoping for a healthy horse.
After a great warm up, they headed out of the box, beautiful first four fences as they headed towards the first question on course. 5A is a red half barn fence with a significant drop landing into the first water, across the water out over B. Stella was a little spooky coming into the water complex, Sammy rode her beautifully, in response to her reaction to her propping. We reviewed the video from RNS many times to fully understand what happened. Stella responded and jumped 5A, but off the ground, she hesitated a split second causing her to drag her belly across the fence and the momentum upon landing caused her legs to crumple beneath her. Stella's nose hit the water and her head folded under herself as her body skidded forward, with her knees hitting the base of the water jump. Sammy stuck with her the best she could and as she fell off, Stella did everything she could to stay off of her. Once Stella got her feet under her she stood stock still reading Sammy underneath her and maneuvered sideways making sure not to step on her. She trotted out of the water and someone grabbed her while people assertively assisted Sammy who was quickly to her feet. I met Stella on the way back to the trailer and Virginia helped me find a vet. The onsite treating vet quickly cleaned it up and bandaged her so we could take her off to Peterson & Smith for further treatment.
The Burgess family kindly allowed us to borrow their truck and trailer as our own trailer full of horses still competing. Heidi & Sammy took Stella into the vet where they were greeted immediately and whisked Stella away to be treated. Unfortunately, she took the majority of the fall on her right knee which caused a large wound. Stella went down for surgery immediately to assess the damage to her joint. At this point, it could go in any direction but as I'm sure you can guess, anything involving a joint is not good.
So never take any day, any jump, any ride for granted as you never know when it may be your last. Love your horses with all of your heart as you expect them to give you theirs. Stella's healing will come in different stages. The first stage is to keep infection completely out of the joint. So having said that, that's where we begin. We much appreciate you keeping Stella in your thoughts and prayers. Anyone who knows Stella knows what a wonderful horse she is and how much she means to Sammy. We can only hope for a smooth recovery, what extent that recovery may be we don't know at this point, but first and foremost Stella's needs come first.