Accidents happen all the time, some bigger than others. Over the past few years a lot of serious accidents have happened in the Equestrian community, not just Eventing. It is easy to go on social media and flat out say that riding is too dangerous. As a rider I realize that every time I put my foot in the stirrup and swing my leg over to sit in the saddle, I risk the chance of something happening. For me, what makes it worth it is the feeling you get, the feeling of pure joy, when both you and your horse are enjoying yourselves cantering across a field or jumping a fence or just out for a nice hack.
It’s a hard one: how do you prevent accidents from happening? It’s an accident, no one knows it’s coming though, of course if you see something dangerous happening, you should step in and put a stop to it. Starting at the lowest level with children, it’s so important to teach them that safety comes first. How many times have you heard the story of ‘I ride that horse every day, he’s bombproof, I don’t need a helmet.’ Complacency kills. The only thing you are in control of is yourself and boy, that’s just not enough when being around these animals. Kids learn by example so be a good one, put a helmet on, wear gloves, wear proper footwear, by trying to set a good example you are also upping your chances of preventing an accident for yourself . Never take for granted that we are working with flight animals that have their own ideas.
Educating riders not only on the ground but in the saddle is extremely important. Teaching them how to ride safely and effectively in control is huge. They need to learn how to deal with situations so they don’t become dangerous, learn to always be alert and thinking ahead. A lot can happen just walking your horse back to the stable at the end of a ride, it isn’t just out on the cross country field.
Social media will go crazy as soon as an accident happens, but then nothing ever comes of it. You very rarely hear about the rider’s recovery or the family a few months later. The incident basically gets, for lack of a better word, forgotten and that’s sad. We need to do a better job at supporting each other after the initial accident and start talking more about how to prevent accidents. We should be learning from each other.
Selling Tack Butter is my wee way of helping out another fellow equestrian. Each sale supports the recovery of Lee Lee Jones, and while I don’t know Lee Lee at all, her story could have easily happened to me or anyone else for that matter.
I was introduced to this product by Rochelle Woodeshick, the owner of Pixie Soaps. Her daughter actually rode my horse while I was in Germany! With the help of Emma Ford, Phillip Dutton’s groom and co-author of World Class Grooming for Horses, Rochelle created Tack Butter, a leather cleaner/conditioner. Lee Lee is one of the reasons Tack Butter was created in the first place (the other reason is that Rochelle couldn’t find a tack cleaner she liked so she decided to throw some things into a bowl and create her own). Lee Lee was involved in a riding accident in December 2016. She was cantering on an exercise track when her horse bucked, slipped, and they both went down. The horse got up unharmed but unfortunately landed on Lee Lee. She was airlifted to a hospital in Delaware, USA where she underwent surgery to relieve the swelling in her brain. Lee Lee continues to make small but monumental steps forward but still has a long journey. When I heard what Rochelle was up to I decided I wanted to help as well. I figured I could help distribute Tack Butter in Canada, and have been doing so since mid-2018. In addition to helping Lee Lee, this Tack Butter is great stuff, so it’s a win-win.
Stories like Lee Lee’s and the ongoing role of Tack Butter in her recovery years later are a great reminder that an accident is not over when the social media storm dies down. When the initial accident happens the family and individual is flooded with ‘get well’ or ‘thinking of you’ cards and flowers. With cases like Lee Lee I think people forget or don’t realize at all the recovery this person has to go through, what the family goes through, and how much their life changes permanently. Do to others as you would want done to yourself. If something awful happened to you, wouldn’t it make it a little bit easier knowing that you have an army behind you cheering you on, and not that you have been forgotten?
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