While in PA I got the first piece of horrible news - my trainer had been in a very bad riding accident leaving her in a medical induced coma after going through brain surgery with lots of bruising on the brain. Most of you (especially the eventers) have probably seen the stories about Amy on Eventing Nation or The Chronicle of the Horse but if you haven't, she either fell or was kicked in the head. Thank goodness she had a helmet on and just as important, someone just happened to be at the farm when she had her accident and was able to get her help immediately. I work in a Neuro ICU unit so I felt some measure of comfort in that I knew sort of what to expect and honestly thought that once the swelling subsided (a few days, a week at most), she would wake-up with maybe a few cognitive issues (short-term memory loss, some residual weakness, etc). But she didn't. I'll spare you the details but it took her at least a good three weeks before she was opening her eyes. I would ask my co-workers, who have years more experience than me what they thought and they would just kind of shake their heads and say it doesn't look good, it's taking too long. I knew this in my head but my heart refused to give up hope. The thing about Amy is she just has this way of making you believe and now it was my turn to believe in her. I don't really know how to explain it - she's super positive but you know she'll always tell you the truth (no sugar coating). She always has time for my stupid questions even though I'm not the most consistent student. She's quite simply amazing. As I write this, she is residing in one of the best rehab facilities in the country making amazing progress everyday - I wouldn't expect anything less. She's walking more and more everyday, talking more appropriately everyday and basically just getting back on the proverbially horse. If you have a minute, please swing by her recovery page on Facebook. If you have a few spare dollars, please consider donating to her medical recovery fund. She may not be as well known as some other BNTs out there but I'm betting she's touched many more people with her lovely personality and amazing talent.
So if the news about Amy wasn't bad enough, my friend Cherie lost her amazing quarter horse stallion to a freak pasture accident. Her husband found him in the pasture with a broken leg. They were able to get him to the barn and take x-rays (he's a vet) but surgery was not an option. As I was crying on the phone with her, she was in the barn petting his nose. She said he was still as bright-eyed and friendly as ever. Like nothing was wrong. It's so difficult to write about Justin - he was truly an amazing animal. He started off life as a western reining champion, moved onto eventing with Cherie competing easily through prelim before switching to the jumpers. He tackled 1.40m jumper courses and was getting ready to make the jump up to grand prix when this happened. And when he wasn't being a jumping freak, he was teaching his 55 year old owner how to jump. One of a kind.
Rest in peace Lark's Justin.