Sunday, July 31, 2011


No one loves hearing the "I told you so!" when the phrase is directed at them.  And what's even worse than hearing that tiny, yet powerful four word phrase, is hearing those words dance delightedly in your own head.  And folks....  it is dancing merrily in mine.
Used with permission

Just before the beginning of the 2010 season, my Dressage Trainer lovingly and forcefully told me that I needed to add a Point 2 Air Jacket to my Eventing arsenal.  Now, before you go on shaking your head and saying...  "of course a DQ would think a Novice rider would need more safety equipment", you need to know...  my Dressage Trainer was an accomplished Upper Level eventer who, for the love of a horse, "retired" from eventing to specialize in dressage.  She's been there and done that!

So, the argument began...  And, it wasn't pretty.  I sited the controversy around the testing and marketing of said safety equipment which I learned from my esteemed, and anonymous, Horsey Bulletin board posters. 

Since both of us are major and outspoken Helmet Supporters, it was kind of hard to disagree about this new piece of safety equipment.  And, I am the kind of person, who try as hard as I can, CAN NOT keep my mouth shut when I see a helmetless rider...  in any sport.   It's my version (actually one of my versions) of tourettes syndrome.  Yet here I was protesting about this item.
Used with permission

And, we debated... It was too expensive... not applicable for a Novice rider and so on. What I didn't say (and this is a "Confessions" blog thingy), is that the vest would make my middle aged "not-even-close-to-a-six-pack abs" look even more.... um... full.

It ended kind of unsettled.  I reluctantly said that I would get a Point 2 Air Jacket WHEN I moved up to Prelim.  And, believe me when I tell you I had time to save up and pay cash...

Her comments did have an impact and that Christmas a group of us bought one for our Eventing Trainer...  We wanted her to be safe and I was a strong supporter of that gift.  And, I was adamant that she use it.
Used with permission

Today, 5 weeks after hitting a tree... I ache.  I still take an immense amount of ibuprofen to keep the ache from being a pain.  I can ride Sugar at a walk for 20 minutes without adding to the pain.  Trotting and cantering are in the near future.  Ultimately, I have lost patience with my rehab...  that's it...  I've had it!  For any of you in chronic pain, I pray for your relief.  And for those of you in chronic pain that manage to have full and bright lives...  you are my heroes. 

Today I wonder...  what if I had that vest?  What if I had that vest?  And, today...  I decided to buy one... for me.

It is a decision I made for myself.  I am not ever going to be a Point 2 Air Jacket - you must have or you're foolish - preacher.  No, but I will quietly tell this story...  the story of a freak accident that might not have been an accident if I had seen the tree as an obstacle rather than a landmark (Landmarks vs Obstacles).  And, maybe...  just maybe I would have made it to the competitors party that night and laughed about how close it was to being the "big one".

One other note...  stuff happens.  I have no remorse that I waited... nope...  what is... IS.  You gotta move on.  Oh, and for those of you who might be saying...  "How long are you going to write about this?  Puh lease!  Move on!"  Uh, we're getting there!  ;-)


SprinklerBandit said...

The variables are maddening. I'll admit that I've been half tempted to recreate my fall minus the safety vest just to see what, if any, effect it had on me.

Besides, the air vest are trendy and look kind of cool. Here's to hoping you actually get to use it.

I mean... wait... here's to hoping you don't have to use it ever again.

eventer79 said...

I really wouldn't beat yourself up too much. It is equally likely that you WOULD still be injured even with the air vest. I am a scientist staunchly unswayed by the marketing and anecdotal claims. I don't know what vest you currently ride in, but if a good, solid-foam vest still left you with an injury, I am skeptical that putting a balloon on top would have added much aid.

Skepticism aside, I certainly hope you never have to deploy your new purchase and are soon back to galloping about sans tree trunks and sans painkillers. I'm not there yet myself, have PT for me and the pony still to do, but am itching to see a course again...

Suzanne said...

I have to agree with you Eventer79with everything you said. It was the basis of my debate. And, I'm not sure I can say... IF I had one on, all would be well. I played some other scenarios... if the vest had inflated and slowed my trajectory... it could have been my head and neck... not chest and hip. (if you want to view the accident/video, I'll can send it to you via email.)

Thats why I believe what was... WAS.

(I have the newest Charles Owen vest and LOVE it.)


Jessica said...

Oh good grief, that sounds painful! One broken rib was bad enough, four sounds truly excruciating.

The others are right, though. It could have made a difference and it could have.. not. Glad you have one now, though, and that you are healing. It's never fast enough, though, is it??

My daughter keeps threatening me with bubble wrap.

Suzanne said...

I'm not sure if anyone will read this. I did talk to the Point 2 rep at Millbrook and described the hit. She said that the air vest would not have prevented my injuries. The vest is gapped on the sides... my hit was there. I LOVED her honesty. I'll still get a vest but it's nice to know that hindsite may be 20/20... honesty is priceless.