Today is a sad day. The entire equestrian community mourns the loss of one of its own as it was announced that yesterday an amateur jumper rider suffered a fatal fall during her round at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, NY. Our hearts break for the family and all who knew her, and it is a somber reminder to take nothing for granted, live every day (and every moment) and cherish the time you spend doing what you love with who you love.
The Chronicle of the Horse reported: Amateur rider Rebecca “Becca” Weissbard, 22, suffered a fatal injury while competing at the HITS-on-the-Hudson VIII in Saugerties, N.Y., on Aug. 31.
HITS released this statement: “It is with great sadness that HITS informs the equestrian community of an accident involving a talented young athlete at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York, on August 31, 2016. The athlete suffered a fatal fall during a 1.0m Jumper Class in Jumper Ring 1. HITS extends its deepest sympathy to the athlete’s family and to the entire horse sport community who feels the impact of this significant loss.”
Read more from COTH here.
The equestrian industry is a tough one. We partner with and put our trust into a 1,000+ pound animal that is much larger and stronger than us, but also very fragile. We risk our lives every time we step our foot into the stirrup to do what we love.
Occasionally I find myself thinking about how bad a certain lesson or ride was -- he wasn't listening to my aids, he was super rushy after the jumps, or another myriad of excuses. But what I really should be doing is thanking my horse after EVERY ride. No matter if it was good, bad or ugly, every day I get to ride and be around Wow is a good day. I need to be grateful for the experience instead of being hypercritical of every step he took. Many of us preach this, but do we really practice it?
These accidents don't discriminate. They take the lives of many different levels of equestrians, from professionals, to children to adult amateurs. Don't think, "It won't happen to me." Because it can. Take precaution and do all you can to be safe, but that's why they are called accidents.
I wish nothing but the best for all of you, your barn friends and trainers, but please, don't take a minute in the saddle or at the barn for granted. Tomorrow is never promised. Make all you can out of today.