After suffering a serious riding accident 10 years ago, Cheyenne Lewis is crippled by a fear that has prevented her from doing the one thing she wants to do most: get back in the saddle.
Top photo: Cheyenne and Tio
We’ve all had our accidents around horses; it’s one thing that doesn’t escape anyone in the horse community no matter how prepared or cautious. It would be nice if they’d invent a calendar letting you know these events were coming so you could do something rather than your scheduled ride. My unplanned dismount happened on a picturesque autumn afternoon at my parent’s farm in the St. Croix River Valley of west central Minnesota.
When I arrived, my parents were busy visiting with my aunt and uncle who had come over for a barbeque so I headed out to saddle up my green Arabian gelding Tiowyn. He’d been training with for two months and a few days before went out on a nine-mile trail hike so I was pretty confident that Tio was up for some more adventures.
We warmed up as usual and as we exited the round pen, a neighbor driving by honked a greeting to me. That was my horse’s undoing. He surged out of the gate and bucked fiercely. I tried to calm him and regain control but ended up sprawled face down on top of our wrought iron bonfire pit ring. Watching my horse galloping away right before feeling the explosion of pain in my legs was the last memory I have of that day.
Today, it’s almost 10 years later and while I still must carefully exercise both legs regularly, I can still walk. I have my limitations as one would expect with severely torn quadriceps but I haven’t given up my fondness for horses. I can’t blame Tio for dumping me in his panicked state, although I never rode him again having spent the better part of a year healing legs that wouldn’t allow me to sit or stand up on my own. However, I haven’t quite let go of my fear.
My riding instructor at the dressage center had one rule regarding riding: get back on. I would love to own another horse more than anything but I’m stuck at a stalemate. When will I ever be able to confidently reach for the reins?
About Cheyenne: Equestrian woman with 10+ years of riding experience who had 1 bad day. A wrangler of twin 4 year old boys, accountant, and a transplant to Fort Worth, Texas.
Thanks for sharing your story with Horse Nation, Cheyenne. Readers, do you have any words of wisdom to share?