My Medical Crisis Plan

Tip of the Quarter
By Christine Engstrom (GHR Member)

Equestrian sports are dangerous. Every time you ride and see the warning signs you are reminded of the potential for injury. My trainer let me know right away that owning two young horses under the age of 4, usually meant that injury was a matter of when, not if. My accident was June 2012. I had a lesson on a schoolmaster horse, had the best ride ever on my three and a half year old, and had my four-year-old project pony left to ride. I made a couple laps on the grassy area when it happened. Unexpectedly, a large black snake appeared under us. While the snake lay still yet visible, my horse reared while I held on, and then as he lurched to the right, I was catapulted into the air. I’m no spring chicken and sure enough, I landed with a big thud against the rocky part of the driveway.

When it was over, I lay on the ground checking myself to see if I was all right. My head didn’t hurt and my shoulder was sore but not too bad, so I tried to get up. I couldn’t move. The first thought that came to my mind was that I broke my hip. I usually never ride alone and was found within 10-15 minutes of the fall. The ambulance came quickly and I was loaded up and then the pain began. I always worried about hitting my head, knowing that 60% of all riding accidents result in head injuries. Fortunately, my head was fine, thanks to my helmet.

I got to the hospital in 30 minutes. Then there were the forms and signatures required for admission. Good thing I had insurance, a well-funded flexible spending account and an AFLAC accident policy. After examination, CT scan and X-rays, the diagnosis was multiple pelvic fractures. Fortunately, no surgery was required. I felt lucky that I only had to stay the night.

My bill was just under $5000 not including the $720 ambulance ride and the Dr.’s fees. I had to get home from Athens to Atlanta and have someone transport me separately from my car and dogs. I needed medical devices, home health care, weekly transport to my Dr.’s appointments, help with shopping, animals, self care and support. I was to live in my Lazy Boy recliner for the next twelve weeks and no work. I couldn’t walk well even with a walker and could not drive for 8 weeks.

Travel PouchI learned a lot from that accident. I needed to be prepared for injury if I was going to continue to ride. I had to have a Medical Crisis Plan for my horse and me. As a result of this experience, I created a personal Medical Crisis Plan that I carry with me whenever I am out riding. I carry with me a “travel pouch” that contains my medical crisis plan, identification cards, credit card, cell phone, and emergency cash. Travel pouches come in all shapes and sizes and are readily available in department stores.

My Medical Crisis Plan

Click the image below to access a PDF version of the form. Fill it out and take it with you when you ride. It could save your life!
Medical Crisis Plan

Here is a picture of Christine on her first time on a horse after her accident.




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